Tim Kinane


Posts Tagged "Business growth"

Monday, January 27th, 2020

Adjusted EBITDA: The Second Most Important Number to Know as You Prepare for Exit

By: Patrick Ungashick



At NAVIX, we know that most business owners’ top goal at exit is to reach financial freedom, which means having enough money so that work is a choice and not an economic necessity. If reaching financial freedom is the number one goal at exit, then your Exit Magic Number™ – the net amount needed to get there – is the most important number to know. So, what’s the second most important number to help you prepare for exit? Your company’s adjusted EBITDA. Unfortunately, many owners either do not know this number or calculate it incorrectly. Here’s why.

If you intend to sell your business at exit, potential buyers will typically look to your company’s adjusted EBITDA to determine their offer price. EBITDA stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization. Contrary to misconception, it does not really calculate a company’s profitability. However, buyers put such importance on EBITDA because it shows the company’s current earnings power. EBITDA, in essence, ignores a company’s current ownership issues (debt, tax structure, and depreciation and amortization, which are all largely the byproduct of past capital investment and acquisition decisions) to isolate the company’s current cash flow.

You don’t have to calculate or track your company’s EBITDA; it’s not required to complete your tax returns. You probably tend to focus more on top line growth. Yet for most buyers, EBITDA is the first and most important step in determining what they will pay for a company they seek to purchase.

So if that’s EBITDA, then what is adjusted EBITDA?

Well, like many business owners, you might not always make decisions that maximize your company’s EBITDA. Sometimes, you have other motives and priorities. For example, if your salary exceeds what you would pay somebody else to do your job, your extra above-market rate compensation is lowering the company’s earnings, hence lowering EBITDA. The same thing happens if you enjoy significant tax-deductible ownership-related perks such as company cars, expense accounts, travel reimbursement, and family members on payroll for generous amounts. All of these discretionary expenses depress the EBITDA, but most likely you don’t mind since they also lower your tax bill each year.

Other business decisions may cause EBITDA to be artificially overstated. For example, if you are paying yourself a below-market salary, either to free up money to grow the company, or because you take the lion’s share of your income from the company in the form of profit distributions, the EBITDA may be higher than it otherwise would be if you were paying yourself market-rate wages.


It’s not just owner compensation and perks that can influence EBITDA. Other issues can impact your EBITDA one way or another, including: accounting methods, benefits programs, leases on space or equipment, and product development costs. As a result, many if not most privately-held companies either do not track their EBITDA, or if they do, EBITDA has not been “normalized” to reflect other business decisions and issues that may understate or overstate the figure.

An adjusted EBITDA therefore involves carefully reviewing these issues and calculating a truer picture of the earnings, as if the company was owned by somebody other than you. Items that artificially understate EBITDA are “added-back” into the figure and any items that artificially overstate EBITDA (“negative add-backs”) are factored in as well.

None of this may matter until you get to the point where you intend to exit within the next several years. If you intend to sell your business at exit, accurately presenting the company’s adjusted EBITDA is paramount. Because buyers typically want to see the prior three full years’ financial statements, owners need to begin calculating their adjusted EBITDA well before they intend to exit—we recommend at least five years before the desired exit, in case you sell more quickly than planned.

Unfortunately, too many companies do not accurately calculate their adjusted EBITDA. Adjusting the EBITDA properly and thoroughly requires somebody with experience preparing companies for sale; many small to mid-sized company bookkeepers and controllers lack this experience. If you get close to exit and don’t know your true adjusted EBITDA, then any of the following problems can occur:

  • If your EBITDA is artificially understated, as is common, offers from buyers will be much lower than otherwise possible. For example, if a buyer is offering to pay five times the earnings for your company, then every $1.00 that your EBITDA is understated will cost you as much as $5.00 off your sale price.
  • If your EBITDA is overstated, this will likely come out during negotiation or the due diligence process, throwing a rather large wrench into your plans to sell the company for a certain price. For example, a buyer paying five times the earnings may reduce its offer price by $5.00 for every $1.00 that EBITDA is discovered to be overstated.
  • Whether under- or overstated, if you and the potential buyer cannot agree on what the accurate adjusted EBITDA is, it will be hard to reach agreement on other important figures, undermining your chance to sell the business at all.

When owners do not accurately know their company’s adjusted EBITDA, one more problem commonly occurs. If a potential buyer unexpectedly comes knocking on your door via an unsolicited email or phone call inquiring if you wish to sell, you should not share any financial data before you can produce an accurate adjusted EBITDA. Prematurely sharing inaccurate or non-adjusted EBITDA figures gets the process with this potential buyer off on the wrong foot from the very first step.

Knowing your adjusted EBITDA in advance is fundamental to a successful sale. At NAVIX, our clients know their adjusted EBITDA, as well as other key financial figures and metrics needed to prepare a company for sale to an outside buyer.

To learn what it takes to prepare your company for sale, and to help you get ready for exit, contact us for a complimentary, confidential 45-minute consultation, at your convenience contact Tim 772-221-4499.


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Saturday, January 4th, 2020

An A-Team Is a Collection of Learning Curves

Periodically, I share a favorite book review from Readitfor.me. There is never enough time to read all the latest books – this tool is a great way to learn and to stay on top of the latest topics and new ideas.

Your Team is your greatest resource. Recognizing each member’s abilities and fostering their growth to full potential will grow your Team’s Strength.

This review of Build an A Team   by: Whitney Johnson outlines the “S Cures” of learning that you can use to strengthen your team to reach peak productivity


Build A Team


Build an A Team
by: Whitney Johnson

Book Review by ReadItFor.me

Disruptive innovation, at its simplest, explains how low-end industry insurgents take on—and eventually outcompete—high-end incumbents who seemingly should have known better Things take traction and the David beats the Goliath.

It is now generally accepted that disruptive innovation underpins the invention of new products and services. Less generally recognized, is that personal disruption in the workplace—the movement of people from one learning curve to the next, one challenge to another—can drive learning, engagement, and even innovation. Johnson claims we can build an A Team this way. Let’s explore how.

The S curve of learning

The S curve of learning represents three distinct phases:

1. The low end, involving a challenging and slow push for competence.
2. The up-swinging back of the curve, where competence is achieved, and progress is rapid.
3. The high end of the curve, where competence has evolved into mastery and can quickly devolve into boredom and disengagement.

An A-Team Is a Collection of Learning Curves 

Johnson challenges us to visualize our team as a collection of people at different points on their own personal S curves. New team members will be at the low end of their curve for approximately six months depending on the difficulty and aptitude. At the six-month mark, they should be hitting the tipping point and moving onto the steep back of their learning curve. During this second phase, they’ll reach peak productivity, which is where they should stay for three to four years. At around the four-year mark, they will have made the push into mastery. In the mastery phase, an employee performs every task with ease and confidence. But ease, and even confidence, can quickly deteriorate into boredom without the motivation of a new challenge. It is  time for them to jump to a new learning curve.

Accelerants of Learning And Growth 

Johnson gives us pointers to progress on how to get the right Team on the right Learning S-curves.

Johnson challenges us to visualize our team as a collection of people at different points on their own personal S curves. New team members will be at the low end of their curve for approximately six months depending on the difficulty and aptitude. At the six-month mark, they should be hitting the tipping point and moving onto the steep back of their learning curve. During this second phase, they’ll reach peak productivity, which is where they should stay for three to four years. At around the four-year mark, they will have made the push into mastery. In the mastery phase, an employee performs every task with ease and confidence. But ease, and even confidence, can quickly deteriorate into boredom without the motivation of a new challenge. It is  time for them to jump to a new learning curve.

Accelerants of Learning And Growth 

Johnson gives us pointers to progress on how to get the right Team on the right Learning S-curves.

1.Identify the Right Risks 
What needs aren’t being met on your team? Does it make sense to redistribute responsibilities? Create a new role? Would more high-quality candidates be available if you looked beyond the spec of the current job? As a manager your job is to mitigate the risk of disruption, not to plug gaps with human resource plugs.

2. Play to Individuals’ Distinctive Strengths 
What does each person do well that other people on the team do not, and what sorts of problems do those strengths equip them to solve? As a manager, your job is to pinpoint what people do uniquely well and pit these abilities against assignments that make their strengths relevant

3. Stepping Backward Is a Way to Move Forward 
Why would an employee be motivated to step back from success in a role while resting on their laurels at the top of the curve, enjoying privilege and entitlement? Because stepping back is your slingshot to moving further forward and contributing more. Pull back and accelerate further.

4. Give Failure Its Due 
At the low end of the curve, when you hire within the organization you must expect staff to flounder. This gives them support for learning, allowing them to quickly engage in the actual work. With employees in the sweet spot of the S curve it can be harder. You may want to shield them from failure, but when tasked with undemanding assignments their confidence begins to falter. Give them stretch goals to keep the edge.

5. Encourage Discovery-Driven Growth 
With discovery driven growth the initial plan is skeletal and is fleshed out as feedback rolls in. We can use this approach when managing people. As you learn about a person’s capabilities you can redeploy them to improve the match between strengths and unmet business needs. Job descriptions should be deliberately vague attracting talented prospects who can contribute now, while offering potential unexplored roles.

Hire People Who Can Grow on the Job 

Begin by reminding yourself that the goal is to approach human resources as raw materials rather than as finished products, the same way you would handle other resources. Johnson suggests we consider the following.

1. Identify the tasks you want a new hire to perform. Don’t accept that it has to stay as it currently is. Genuinely understand what you are looking for, then make the effort to find it.
2. Do a team check: consider how the new role will affect the team. How might a new hire enhance the capacities your team already has? Where are the gaps in good team compatibility?
3. Do a sanity check: identify your motivation for the new hire.  Having identified these, may require an adjustment to expectations. If we onboard someone who can do the functional job but can’t do the emotional job, we won’t be satisfied no matter what they do.
4. Write the right job specification. The target should be to attract talented people who are qualified to onboard at the low end of the job’s learning curve. They won’t be experts, but they will have what it takes to learn and grow into other roles. If we inflate the necessary qualifications to attract the crème-de-la crème we will get a candidate who will become disinterested within the first few months of employment.

Managing the Hungry New Hire 

New hires need a vision. Understanding why their job is important will aid them through early stage difficult days. Initially they may struggle and try your patience. You may even wonder why you hired them. But you can increase their odds of moving up the learning curve by laying out a vision from the outset. Just as your new employee needs to understand the company’s vision, you’ll want to understand theirs. Find out what they are trying to accomplish as a person and how this new role fits with their goals, as well as what they anticipate they will need from you to be successful.

As your employees share their goals with you, clarify expectation that progression by learning is important. Be explicit: I am here to help you help me get my job done. Here’s how. I will then reward you for your contributions. And here’s how I’ll do that. Get your new hire’s perspective on your operation. Being able to hear the contrary ideas of others allows us to move more quickly up the learning curve. Learn to solicit ideas and opinions from newcomers who aren’t yet blind through familiarity. Future performance and innovation may hinge on it.

Be a Chief Encouragement Officer. Feeling the agitation or disapproval of the boss can cause concern. Remember staff took this job and will stay in this job—or not—largely because of the leader. If you can make them feel safe and acknowledge their efforts, even when imperfect, you’re sitting on a gold mine.

Playing to Sweet Spot Strengths 

Sweet-spot employees are confident in their abilities, having moved past the daily struggle at the low end of the curve. Yet it is common for managers to be reluctant to provide these employees with stretch assignments. Maybe you don’t want to discourage or derail them. But experiencing a genuine risk of failure – working under pressure – is what motivates most of us to step up to the plate. Allow, and even generate, pressure. In the case of your sweet-spot employees, consider imposing constraints that fall into the following categories:

  • Time – A task that is less demanding becomes a major challenge if you impose a tight deadline. Here are some questions to ask your employees, and yourself. To hit annual targets in nine months instead of twelve, what would you do differently? If you were going to be away for three months, what would you do to make sure things could run without you? What are the most important priorities? Which things aren’t as important? What must you absolutely get done so that your manager can advocate for your jump to a new curve? 
  • Money – Trim back the expenditure on the team. Ask questions such as: If your business unit had to be profitable as a stand-alone entity, what would your business model be? If you only had half of the current marketing budget, what would you do differently? If you had to assemble an A-team with only 80% of your current budget, what would you do? 
  • Expertise – Exploit their deep understanding. Ask: If you were CEO for a day and ran the company based on your area of expertise, what would you change? What if everyone on your team were new? No experts, only novices. What would you do differently? 

Managing Masters 

Here’s the challenge: after months, maybe years of investment, our employee shoots up the learning curve. They have become our go-to person, willing and able to do whatever is asked. We’ve become accustomed to an outsized return on their effort. Why would we push them to try something new, when we’re still reaping the rewards of our investment? As growth peaks and flattens out, if change isn’t on the horizon, our high performer may become a low performer. This is seldom intentional, but it happens anyway, either because they feel stymied or because work has become too easy, and routine is boring.

Have Your Best Workers Share What They Know 

High-end-of-the-curve employees are sought after assets internally but even more so externally. So how can you manage (and keep) this human resource you’ve worked hard to develop in a way that will work for your organization, your team, and you? There are three important roles they can play:

Pacesetters: pushing low-enders to excel. Put your top performers to good use by showing low-enders what success looks like.

Trainers: conveying corporate memory. Have the top enders create their legacy in the creation of the Organisational Encyclopaedia – The business Book of Knowledge.

Mentors: the benefits of mentoring offer a fresh angle on the job for someone who may be a bit idle while they await the jump to a new curve, and it disperses the training responsibility through a wider pool of talent.

Keeping Masters Engaged

The goal is always to retain talent, but the more people achieve seniority, the more it becomes a challenge. Not everyone can go up. But it is also true that “up” isn’t the only way up: a lot of learning and growth can happen in lateral moves that may give employees the perfect skill set to forge ahead. If lateral moves carry some stigma, then backward moves are often seen as even more so. We tend to assume something’s wrong with someone who takes a step back. But sometimes taking a step back is exactly the right move. Like the slingshot, we pull back to get the momentum we need to catapult forward.

Shake Things Up 

Managing people as a series of S curves requires a disruptive mindset on your part. Here are some important questions Johnson says we should consider.
How can I shake up employees or teams who have become set in their ways? What goals might be accomplished by shifting people into different roles? How can I create a company culture that encourages and even insists on curve jumping? 

Where to Climb When You’re at the Top

For some employees, there may not be a next curve to jump to within the organization, especially those who are approaching retirement. Data tells us that more people are choosing to work past traditional retirement milestones. Some may have the work-life bandwidth remaining to tackle entirely new learning curves, others may not. Efforts to accommodate their needs, perhaps part-time or remote work can keep them contributing at great benefit to everyone involved. Many will be willing to discuss adjustments to compensation that will maintain their high value to the firm while allowing them more flexibility to pursue noncareer objectives. The key is to think creatively. Years of experience is a human resource not to be wasted.



Successful businesses strengthen their greatest resource by hiring and growing Strong Teams.Are you using the Team Strength DISC model? It is a great tool that helps you to easily identify and understand your own style, recognize and cognitively adapt to different styles. The Team Strength charting app makes it easy to develop a process to communicate more effectively with others. Creating effective communication at every level of your origination.

Tim Kinane

Call 772-210-4499 to set up a time to talk about tools and strategies that will lead to better results.

Please share this with a friend/colleague


Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

Team Strength DISC


Team Strength DISC


Team Strength DISC is a simple, practical, powerful tool used to understand people. It focuses on individual patterns of external, observable behaviors and measures the intensity of characteristics using scales of directness and openness for each of the four styles:


Using the Team Strength DISC model, it is easy to identify and understand our own style, recognize and cognitively adapt to different styles. The Team Strength charting app makes it easy to develop a process to communicate more effectively with others.


Word Art Team Strength


Team Strength DISC a tool to:

  • Demystify behaviors
  • Improve communications
  • Develop strong teams
  • Build better relationships
  • Facilitate conflict resolution
  • Self-growth

Team Strength DISC provides tools to help you become a better you – to develop and use more of your natural strengths while recognizing, improving upon, and modifying your limitations. Then, because we can easily see and hear these behaviors, we can quickly and accurately “read” other people and use our knowledge to enhance communication and grow our relationships.
Historical and contemporary research reveal more than a dozen various models of our behavioral differences, but many share one common thread: the grouping of behavior into four basic categories:

Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientious.

There is no “best” style. Each style has its unique strengths and opportunities for continuing improvement and growth.


Historical and contemporary research reveal more than a dozen various models of our behavioral differences, but many share one common thread: the grouping of behavior into four basic categories.

The Team Strength DISC styles are Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientious. There is no “best” style. Each style has its unique strengths and opportunities for continuing improvement and growth.

The assessment examines external and easily observable behaviors and measures tendencies using scales of directness and openness that each style exhibits.


DISC directness

This is part one of the Team Strength DISC Profiles Series.

Knowledge builds better relationships and strong teams. Team Strength DISC profile is a cost-effective tool that gives powerful results that can be used for both personal and professional relationships. I have used Team Strength DISC profiles to help businesses and organizations develop strong teams and great leaders.

Tim Kinane

Call 772-210-4499 to set up a time to talk about tools and strategies that will lead to better results.

Please share this with a friend/colleague



Friday, October 4th, 2019

Three Biggest Oops Inside Buy-Sell Agreements

By: Patrick Ungashick

Buy Sell Agreement Document


Your company’s buy-sell agreement may be one of the most important legal documents in your life. It may not seem or feel that way most of the time, but if and when you need that agreement, it can either save you huge sums of money and incalculable stress and suffering, or it can cause you to lose huge sums of money and suffer incalculable stress. The outcome depends on whether or not your buy-sell agreement is well designed, or not. And, unfortunately many buy-sell agreements make one or more of several surprisingly common mistakes.

Quickly – What is a Buy-Sell Agreement

Buy-sell agreements (also commonly called shareholder agreements or member interest agreements) are legal documents that identify situations where ownership in the company may change hands, and then provide instructions on how to handle each case. The most familiar example is what happens upon the death of a partner. A buy-sell agreement usually requires the deceased owner’s heirs to sell the interest back to the company or the surviving owner(s) and at a specified price. This provision protects everybody: the deceased owner’s heirs receive a cash payout while the remaining owner(s) move forward without unwanted business partners. Most buy-sell agreements have provisions to address a shareholder’s death or other triggering events, such as retirement or severe disability.

Mistake #1 – Not Address the Sale of the Company

The first common mistake deals with a triggering event that many buy-sell agreements do not address—the sale of the company. If you wish to exit by way of sale, but one or more of your co-owners don’t want to sell, typically you cannot make them sell their portion of your company if your buy-sell agreement does not directly address this scenario. So, if a co-owner does not want to sell, then you might not be able to sell either. Most buyers will not want to acquire less than 100% of a company, particularly, when one of the owners was already opposed to the deal.

This reality often comes as an unwelcome surprise to owners seeking to exit. Some owners only learn their partners can block a sale when a potential buyer is standing in the doorway, and they discover that the buy-sell agreement does not address a sale. This omission leaves business co-owners at risk. To fill in the gaps, be sure your agreement includes “drag-along” and “tag-along” rights. These odd-sounding provisions bind co-owners together when selling the business to an outside buyer. The “drag-along” part requires that if a majority of the owner(s) decide to sell the company, all of the other owners are required to join the deal. This clause protects majority co-owners against minority co-owners holding up a sale. “Tag-along” is the reverse—majority co-owner(s) cannot sell their interest without tagging along and including the minority owners at the same price and terms. This stipulation protects minority co-owners from being left out of any deal. Together, these provisions bind all the co-owners into a single block and restore the majority owner’s control over the decision to sell the entire business.

If you wait until a buyer is standing in your doorway to address this, you run the serious risk of undermining or killing your deal.

Mistake #2 – Inadequate Valuation Method

The second common mistake is the buy-sell agreement uses a valuation method that produces an undesirable outcome or price, or both. Every buy-sell agreement will have some provision for determining the value of the company (or a partial interest in the company) upon a triggering event. There are several commonly used methods, with the three most common being:

  • Defining a fixed price (“The company is worth $10 million”)
  • Setting a formula (“The company is worth five times EBITDA”)
  • Calling for and performing a formal business validation upon a triggering event

It is possible to define reasonable scenarios where any of these methods would be a good or a poor fit to accomplish what the business owners need. So, while some professional advisors will clearly advocate one approach over another, each method offers significant advantages and disadvantages, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer to which valuation method should be used.

Instead, owners (and their advisors) must do two things on this issue, both of which commonly get overlooked. First, the different valuation methods need to be discussed and carefully weighed to determine which fits best for your situation. This analysis rarely gets done, which is both dangerous and unnecessary because the question typically only takes a little time to evaluate and answer.

Second, the valuation method selected today needs to be reviewed and updated over time. Frustratingly, that rarely happens. Few owners get excited about “reviewing and updating my buy-sell agreement” as a project or task, for understandable reasons. However, over time, the valuation method used in your buy-sell agreement likely gets less and less current and relevant to meet your new reality. Then, one day, a triggering event occurs. At that point, it’s too late to make a change, and the obsolete valuation method or price can do more harm than good.

Mistake #3 – Bad Form

Exactly how does the buy-sell agreement work upon a triggering event is crucial, and there are different forms of agreements. For example, assume one owner dies. The buy-sell agreement calls for the deceased owner’s heirs or estate to sell that interest in the company, as you would expect. However, how will that purchase occur? For example, does the company purchase the deceased owner’s interest? Or, do the remaining owner(s) acquire the interest? Or can they split it? The buy-sell agreement’s form will answer this question, and the question typically has significant financial and tax considerations.

The different types of buy-sell forms typically include:

  • Entity purchase (the company buys back the stock or units)
  • Cross purchase (the remaining owners buy the stock or units)
  • Wait-and-see (a combination of the two)

While there are exceptions, in most situations, a wait-and-see method offers the most advantages with few if any disadvantages. Ironically it seems to be the least commonly used form in our experiences. Under this method, the legal agreement does not predetermine who or what will be the buyer—the agreement will “wait and see.” The legal document usually accomplishes this by giving the business the first option to purchase the interest within a narrow window of time, such as thirty days. If this time period expires with no purchase, then the option shifts to specified individuals (such as remaining owners) to make the purchase. If these individuals do not purchase the interest within the second time period, then usually the agreement concludes that the third and final step is the business must purchase the interest. The wait-and-see sequence (easy to remember as Business-Owners-Business or BOB) gives owners and advisors flexibility to determine the best course of action upon a triggering event.

Avoiding Oops

Buy-sell agreements are critically important documents that, when triggered, can either cause a disaster or rescue you from one. You cannot afford to wait until a triggering event occurs, to discover that the agreement is lacking in some way.

If you have questions about your agreement, contact us for a complimentary and confidential consultation to discuss or review your existing agreement. Better to know about and fix a small oops now.


If you have a quick question coming out of this article or, if you want to discuss your situation in more detail, we can set up a confidential and complimentary phone consultation at your convenience contact Tim 772-221-4499.

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Monday, September 9th, 2019

The Ultimate Question 2.0 Book Review

The Ultimate Question 2.0

By Fred Reichheld

There is one question that can help you define a great customer experience, leading to more customer loyalty and profits. Learn what it is and start using it today.

The Ultimate Question 2 0

Readitfor.me Book Review

We all want our customers to be happy. And we all know that happy customers is the only way to create long-term success in business.

The challenge is to understand how customers are feeling and how to create a customer experience that delivers more happiness and less frustration.

Traditional surveys aren’t up to the task. There are too many questions, and instead of action, they inspire paralysis by analysis.

Financial reports don’t help us either because they don’t distinguish between, as Fred Reichheld calls them, “good profits” and “bad profits.”

This book is all about asking a deceivingly simple question, calculating a score, and then taking actions to increase your score. It’s simple, and that’s why it works.

The Questions

The system that Reichheld suggests we use in order to increase customer loyalty is called the Net Promoter System (NPS for short).

The system has us ask 2 simple questions and then use the answers to create our path forward.

First, you ask the Ultimate Question, which is:

On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend us (or this product/services/brand) to a friend or a colleague?

Next, you ask a follow up question:

What is the primary reason for your score?

This open-ended follow up question allows you to hear the reasons for the score in the customers’ own words. This is important, because it avoids the leading questions that are often built into the customer loyalty questionnaires.

Promoters, Passives and Detractors

After asking the two questions, you sort people into different buckets based on their answers.


These are people who answer the Ultimate Question with a 9 or a 10. This is a signal that their lives have been enriched by doing business with your company. They typically make repeat purchases and give your company a larger amount of their spending. They are also big word of mouth advocates and tell their friends, family and colleagues about their experience.

The goal is to have as many of our ycustomers be Promoters as possible.


These are people who answer the Ultimate Question with a 7 or 8. They are satisfied customers, but not loyal customers. The behaviours you see from these customers are different. They don’t make many referrals, and the ones they do make are not enthusiastic. If a competitor runs a promotion, they are likely to defect. These are customers that you cannot bank on sticking around for the long-run.


These are people who answer the Ultimate Question with a 6 or below. They are the reverse of the Promoters – their lives have been diminished by doing business with your company. They are completely dissatisfied with their experience, and are likely to tell their networks about it.

Calculating Your Net Promoter Score

Now that you have figured out which buckets your customers go in, it’s time to calculate your Net Promoter Score.

This calculation is very simple as well:

NPS = % of Promoters – % of Detractors

Now that we’ve covered exactly what the Net Promoter Score is and how you calculate it, let’s move into why you should use this at your company, and exactly how to implement it.

Two reasons to use NPS

The Net Promoter System is based on two pillars – economic and inspirational.

The economic pillar of NPS is about understanding why it makes business sense to invest in customer loyalty, and what the ROI is on creating more Promoters and less Detractors. If you’re not the person in charge of the finances at your company, they you need to build the case for the person that is (usually the CFO). We’ll cover the economic reasons to use NPS in the next section.

The inspirational pillar of NPS is about helping enrich the lives of the people at our company by putting the Golden Rule at the centre of your decision making process. You’ve heard from many other books and experts how important it is to help your team find purpose in their work – treating others as you’d like to be treated as a customer is a concrete and tangible way to do it.

Good Profits/Bad Profits

At the core of the Net Promoter System is the idea that good profits are better than bad profits in the long-run, and that you use NPS to get more good, less bad.

Bad Profits

Bad profits are the ones earned at the expense of the customer. They are about extracting value from customers, not creating value for them.

They show up in many different ways. For instance, discounts, sales promotions and expensive advertising lead to a profit squeeze, which usually leads to more discounts, sales promotions and expensive advertising. It’s focussing on the wrong end of the problem.

The consequences of relying on bad profits are enormous. They blacken your reputation, and they alienate customers and employees alike. They make you vulnerable to competitors. The ultimately lead to poor results over the long run.

Good Profits

Good profits, you might have already guessed, come from loyal customers.

These customers ultimately lead to great business results over the long-run. A great example of this is Costco, which is the leader in customer-loyalty among warehouse retailers. They went from start-up to a Fortune 50 behemoth in less than 20 years. How much did they spend on advertising and marketing? Almost nothing. Their customers are so loyal that they have depended almost entirely on word-of-mouth for its growth.

Ok, but just exactly how much are they worth?

Now that we’ve covered the general, let’s get to the specific.

The first thing you need to do in order to calculate exactly what Promoters are worth to your business is to figure out the lifetime value of your average customer.

Then, using that as your baseline, calculate the same thing for your Promoters, Passives and Detractors. If you are like most businesses that go through this exercise, you’ll find that the lifetime value of Promoters are worth much more to your business.

There are many different business metrics at the heart of why this is the case:

  • Retention rate. Promoters stick around at a much higher rate. This also means that your customer acquisition costs get spread out over a longer lifetime, leading to a more profitable customer.
  • Pricing. Promoters are more often less price sensitive than Detractors, which means that you don’t have to rely on discounts and expensive marketing campaigns to keep them.
  • Annual spend. Promoters spend more of their money with you than Detractors do.
  • Cost efficiencies. You already know this intuitively – your best customers require the least amount of time and attention. So, they actually cost you less than Detractors.
  • Word of mouth. Between 80 and 90 percent of positive referrals come from Promoters. So, each Promoter is not only worth the revenue you generate from them, but from the revenue you generate from the referrals they make as well. And to make this element even more powerful, the people that Promoters refer to your business are much more likely to become Promoters themselves than customers that find you through more traditional means.

Even if you can’t come up with an exact figure around how much a Promoter is worth to your business right now, you can estimate. For instance, a bank that worked with Bain & Co on a Net Promoter project calculated that they are worth $9,500 more to the bank than a Detractor.

On the other hand, Detractors are responsible for 80 to 90 percent of negative word of mouth, and actually have a negative lifetime value to your company. You can see why you’ll want to figure out how to not acquire these people as customers in the first place.

8 Principles of using NPS systematically

If you are going to use NPS in your business, there are principles that the authors have learned through hundreds of successful implementations that you’ll want to keep in mind.

Principle 1: Ask the Ultimate Question and very little else

The tendency of most people who use NPS for the first time is to want to add in a bunch of other questions. If you do want more detail after you’ve asked the Ultimate Question and one follow up (which should focus on having the person explain their score, or suggesting improvements that would make it more likely for people to recommend), the appropriate action to take is to call the person and interview them.

Principle 2: Choose a scale and stick to it

The 0 to 10 scale has many advantages. It makes intuitive sense, most of the world uses it as a measuring stick (like in hospitals asking about the severity of pain), and makes it easy to spot differences in behavior that a 5 point scale would miss.

Principle 3: Avoid confusion between internal scores (‘bottom-up’ or ‘touchpoint’) and external scores (top-down, benchmark or ‘relationship’ scores)

Larger companies will sometimes have external firms to do random checks on customers to produce a score that can be compared to customers of a competitor. These are helpful to benchmark performance, but they are not the same thing as the scores generated after specific touchpoints, like asking the question to a customer soon after they purchase. These touchpoint surveys are where you’ll find the “golden nuggets” you need to fine tune every part of your customer experience.

Principle 4: Aim for high response rates from the right customers

It would be great to get feedback from all customers, but you should begin with the customers you care most about – your core or target customers. The goal of NPS is to predict hard, quantifiable behaviors, and for that you need large sample sizes.

Reichheld suggests that if your survey response rates are lower than 65 percent, your process needs to improve. There’s a good reason for this. There’s a tendency for people to assume that the distribution of non-responders are like the distribution of responders. However, that’s not true. Non-responders tend to be Passives or Detractors, so a low response rate will almost certainly show you a better NPS score than you really have.

Principle 5: Report and discuss NPS data as frequently as financial data

If you only measure and discuss your NPS scores once a year or quarter, nobody will pay attention to it except when the results come out. Which, of course, is not often enough to drive the changes in your business that will lead to more Promoters and less Detractors.

Principle 6: Learn faster and improve accountability with more granular data

There are two things you can do to create more granular data.

First, you can ask the Ultimate Question at each customer touchpoint. For instance, after a customer service call, you could ask the customer whether or not you resolved their problem, and then the Ultimate Question.

Second, and this follows from the first, you should empower everybody in the organization that touches the customer to collect the information and insights needed to change internal behaviors.

Then, you hold the people responsible for those interactions for increasing the NPS associated with those interactions.

Principle 7: Audit to Ensure Accuracy and Freedom from Bias

The closer you get to granular insight and accountability, the more bias will creep into the process. Every time I buy a car I’m reminded by the sales rep that “anything less than a perfect score on the customer satisfaction report is considered a failure, so please give me a perfect score.”

There are multiple sources of bias which you’ll need to fight against, but one of the easiest ways to do that is to use a software system and email deployments to collect the information. If you do need to use phone calls to collect the information, using a third-party to do them will help eliminate most of the bias.

Principle 8: Validate that Scores Link to Behaviours

Finally, the entire purpose of the NPS process is to ensure that you are generating more of the customer loyalty-type behaviors that drive business results – referrals, buying more and taking time to give constructive feedback.

For instance, check in periodically with the people who are giving you 9s and 10s on the surveys to ensure that they are making referrals, buying more and giving you constructive feedback. If they are not, you need to revise the way you gather feedback until you are seeing the scores and expected behaviors lining up.

Closing the Loop with Customers

Finally, in order to make NPS a successful part of your daily workflow, you need to close the loop with customers.

Closing the loop on the front line level means following up with as many Detractors as possible to identify any insights you can gain into why their experience was a negative one. Once you’ve pooled the insights, make decisions on what needs to change and make sure all front-line staff are notified of those changes.

Closing the loop for mid-level managers means using feedback from your Promoters to create products and services that are designed to attract and retain more Promoters.


Creating a great customer experience starts with good communication. Asking the right questions can give you the good information needed to create a great customer experience leading to more customer loyalty and profits.

Tim Kinane

Call 772-210-4499 to set up a time to talk about tools and strategies that will lead to better results.

Please share this with a friend/colleague



Monday, November 19th, 2018

The Upside of Stress Book Review

The Upside of Stress

By: Kelly McGonigal


How do you respond to stress?

Periodically, I share a favorite book review from Readitfor.me.

There is never enough time to read all the latest books – this tool is a great way to learn and to stay on top of the latest topics and new ideas.

The Readitfor.me tool has grown into a great resource for both personal and team growth, offering book summaries, micro courses and master classes. Check out this link: Readitfor.me. See how these tools can help build you personal and Team Strength.

Here is a summary of the Book
The Upside of Stress

 by Kelly McGonigal

Book Review by Readitfor.me

Upside of Stress

As it turns out, whether or not stress is harmful has a lot to do with how you view it.

Read on to learn how to change your mindset about stress.

Stress is bad for you, right?

As Kelly McGonigal tells us in this fascinating book, the research that scientists have done on stress tell a slightly different story.

As it turns out, whether or not stress is harmful has a lot to do with how you view it.

Consider the following research findings comparing people who view stress as harmful to people who view stress an enhancing.

People who believe stress is enhancing are less depressed and more satisfied with their lives than people who view stress as harmful. They have more energy and less health issues. They are more productive at work and are happier doing it. They also have a greater confidence in their ability to cope with challenges, and even find meaning in difficult circumstances.

That’s a pretty long list of benefits just for changing your mind about what stress means to you.

Join us for the next 12 minutes as we explore what stress actually is, and how you can completely change your relationship with it.

You might even learn how to harness the stress in your life to create a more meaningful, fulfilling life.

Let’s get started.

What is stress?

We first need to start with an understanding of what stress actually is. When you are feeling stress, your body releases cortisol and adrenaline.

From an evolutionary perspective, this stress response is designed to help you. But – like stress in general – it is more feared than appreciated. We’ve come to associate stress as toxic a state which we should try to minimize as much as possible.

But, as we’ll describe as we work our way through this book, your stress response is a resource to rely on rather than an enemy to eliminate.

How stress got a bad name

We won’t spend much time on this section. Basically, a scientist by the name of Hans Selye did a lot of stress research in the 1930s and 40s that showed that stress caused negative physical reactions.

He became known as the Grandfather of Stress, and was nominated for the Nobel Prize ten times, and devoted his life to spreading the word about his research, leading us all to believe that stress is toxic.

The problem is that all of his research was performed on rats, and in situations that bear little resemblance to everyday human stress.

This is what a typical day looked like for one of Selye’s lab rats. You’d start off with unpredictable, uncontrollable shocks. Then you’d get thrown in a bucket of water and forced to swim until you started to drown. Then, finally, you’d get put into an overcrowded cage with other rats where you would fight over an inadequate supply of food.

That, McGonigal rightly points out, isn’t stress – that’s the Hunger Games for rodents.

Nonetheless, Selye made the leap from rats to humans, and from torture to every day stress, and voila – we all developed a negative view about stress.

So now you have a negative mindset about stress

In recent surveys, the American Psychological Association has found that most people in America perceive their personal levels of stress as unhealthy.

These people believe that experiencing stress:

  • depletes their health and vitality
  • debilitates their performance and productivity
  • inhibits their learning and growth
  • is negative and should be avoided.

People who have this mindset about stress are much more likely to say that they cope with stress by trying to avoid it. They are more likely to:

  • Try to distract themselves from the cause of the stress instead of dealing with it.
  • Focus on getting rid of their feelings of stress instead of taking steps to address its source.
  • Turn to alcohol or other substances or addiction to escape the stress.
  • Withdraw their energy and attention from whatever relationship, role or goal is causing the stress.

Obviously, this reinforces the belief that stress is bad and should be avoided at all costs.

But as we turn our attention towards the benefits of embracing stress, we’ll find a much different story emerges.

Changing from a negative mindset to a positive one

As it turns out, you have a choice about how you respond to stress. Victor Frankl described this as the space between stimulus and response.

A minority of people in the general population believe that stress enhances their lives. These people believe that experiencing stress:

  • enhances their performance and productivity
  • improves their health and vitality
  • facilitates their learning and growth
  • is positive and should be utilized.

Where people with a negative mindset towards stress try to cope with stress, people with a positive mindset towards stress try to use it to their advantage. They are much more likely to:

  • Accept the fact that the stressful event has occurred and is real.
  • Plan a strategy for dealing with the source of stress.
  • Seek information, help, or advice.
  • Take steps to overcome, remove, or change the source of stress.
  • Try to make the best of the situation by viewing it in a more positive way or by using it as an opportunity to grow.

So, just by creating a positive mindset about stress, you can turn self-doubt into confidence, fear into courage, and isolation into connection.

All without getting rid of the stress.

Which begs the question, how do you change your mind about stress?

The insight from the research is that you get what you expect. If you expect stress to be a negative experience, that’s exactly what you will get. If you expect it to be a positive experience, that’s exactly what you’ll get.

There is evidence for this in a lot of different areas of your life. For instance, how you think about getting older has some serious consequences for you later in life. People who have a positive view of aging add an average of 8 years to their life, and have an 80% lower risk of a heart attack.

Your mindset not only helps you in the moment, but also influences you to make better decisions in the future, leading to better outcomes. It’s as though mindset matters twice.

Now let’s turn our attention to the three different ways that your new positive mindset about stress will help you lead a more productive and fulfilling life.

Stress helps you engage

In this section we’ll focus on how you can transform a threat into a challenge.

Our common reaction to stress is to avoid it, and the most common advice you get when do deal with stress in the moment is to “calm down.” Basically, you should find a way to get rid of the stress.

However, viewing the stress response as a resource can transform the physiology of fear into the biology of courage. The stress response does a number of things that will help you perform well under pressure.

It focuses your attention, heightens your senses, increases your motivation, and mobilizes energy. This is true even when the stress doesn’t feel helpful, which is the case when people experience anxiety.

When you start to feel your heart pounding or your breath quickening, remember that this is your body’s way of trying to give you more energy. When you start to feel tension in your body, remember that the stress response gives you access to your strength. Are your palms sweaty? Good, that means you are close to something that you want. Do you have butterflies in your stomach? Embrace them – it’s your guts way of saying that this is something that matters.

If you take the traditional advice and try to calm down, you are preventing yourself from accessing the energy, strength and drive that the stress gives you. So, instead of trying to take a deep breathe to try and calm down, take a deep breath and sense the energy that’s available to you.

Then, use it. Ask yourself what action you can take that is consistent with your goal in this moment.

Connect: How tending and befriending transforms stress

In this section we’ll focus on how you can activate your “tend-and-befriend” response to better deal with stress.

From an evolutionary perspective, we have this “tend-and-befriend” response to make sure we protect our offspring. Rather than get paralyzed with fear (and let our offspring get eaten by that lion), we spring into action.

It does so because it increases activity in three systems in your brain.

First, it activates the social caregiving system, which is regulated by oxytocin. When this happens you feel more empathy, connection and trust.

Second, it activates the reward system, which releases the neurotransmitter dopamine. When this happens you feel more optimistic about your ability to do something meaningful, and it primes your brain for physical action, ensuring that you don’t freeze under pressure.

And third, it activates the attunement system, which releases to neurotransmitter serotonin. When this happens, your perception, intuition and self-control are all enhanced to ensure that the actions you take have the biggest positive impact.

In other words, as McGonigal points out, the tend-and-befriend response makes you social, brave and smart. Which is a much better response than trying to avoid dealing with whatever is causing you stress.

So, when you are feeling overwhelmed, look for opportunities to do something for somebody else that goes beyond your regular responsibilities.

Fair warning – your brain is going to tell you that you don’t have the time or energy to do it. But that’s exactly why you should. The good news is that small gestures work just as well as grand gestures to activate this response, so just get into action rather than waiting for the perfect moment to do something big.

Grow: how adversity makes you stronger

In this last section we’ll focus on how stress can actually help you learn and grow.

As McGonigal points out, the idea that we grow through adversity is not new. It’s embodied in the teachings of every major religion.

The science shows that plenty good can come from stressful or traumatic experiences. Here is a partial list of some of the positive changes that are commonly reported in cases of hardship, loss or trauma:

  • A sense of personal strength;
  • Increased appreciation for life;
  • Spiritual growth;
  • Enhanced social connections and relationships with others;
  • Identifying new possibilities and life directions.

The important part, McGonigal explains, is that the good that comes from difficult experiences isn’t from the event itself – it comes from you.

What it requires is for you to look back on the difficult experiences from your past, and to reflect on the positive changes that came from them. Then, when you are faced with future stressful situations, you’ll be able to recall how you were able to overcome them in the past to help you overcome them in the moment.

This creates a growth-mindset towards adversity.





Ultimately, if you are trying to do big things in your life (the fact that you are reading this would suggest that’s the case), you are going to face adversity. Lots of it.

How you choose to deal with it is up to you. One path leads to growth and the fulfillment of your goals, and the other leads you despair and inaction.

And when you look at it that way, there really is only one choice.

If you are like my clients, you work hard learning how to grow your company or organization. You invest the time and money to improve your team for better results and increased value. The Readitfor.me tool has grown into a great resource for both personal and team growth, offering book summaries, micro courses and master classes.  Check out this link for details Readitfor.me and see how this tool can you build your company for long term success.

Tim Kinane

Call 772-210-4499  or email to set up a time to talk about tools and strategies to lead to better results.

Please share this with a friend/colleague






Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

The Organized Mind Book Review

How do you stay focused on the work that’s most important to your success?

Periodically, I share a favorite book review from Readitfor.me.

There is never enough time to read all the latest books – this tool is a great way to learn and to stay on top of the latest topics and new ideas.

The Readitfor.me tool has grown into a great resource for both personal and team growth, offering book summaries, micro courses and master classes. Check out this link: Readitfor.me. See how these tools can help build you personal and Team Strength.

Here is a summary of the Book
The Organized Mind 
by Daniel Levitin.

There are many arguments for having a place for everything and keeping everything in its place.

Read on to learn how to use your mind – the most powerful tool you have – to focus on the work that’s most important to your success.


Organized Mind


The Organized Mind 

by Daniel Levitin

Book Review by ReadItFor.me

A place for everything, and everything in it’s place.

It’s a principle that, for centuries, has allowed us to keep our physical world in order so that we can focus on whatever the task at hand is.

However, these days we have added the complexity of our digital and social worlds to the mix, making it harder and harder to keep things organized, and thus stay on track with the most important goals in our life.

Read on as we explore how to create an organized mind so we can get more done, and ultimately succeed in a world that is built for distraction.

The Current State of Information Overload
Each day we are confronted with an unprecedented amount of information. Each of us processes about 100,000 words a day through all of the messages we are exposed to.

The average person watches 5 hours of television each day, which is the equivalent of processing 20 gigabytes of audio-visual images.

What does this have to do with your mind and how well it’s organized?

There are two things to consider here.

First, your brain evolved to focus on one thing at a time. The processing capacity of the conscious mind has been estimated at approximately 120 bits per second, which means you can barely understand two people talking to you at the same time. Multi-tasking is a myth – your brain simply doesn’t have the capacity to do it.

Second, this means that you need to make decisions about who and what to pay attention to throughout the day. Your brain seems to have the ability to make a certain number of decisions every day, and once we reach that limit, we can’t make any more, regardless of how important they are.

This means that every status update you read on Facebook and every text message you get from a friend is competing for resources in your brain with more important things like how to finish that project that’s due by the end of the day.

Once you’ve exhausted the limit of your brain’s decision making capacity for the day, you are unable to make good decisions, and ultimately you are unable to do great work.

To understand why this is important, let’s take a look at how memory and attention work.

How Attention Works
In order to understand how to have a well organized mind, we need to know how our minds organize themselves.

There are four main components of the human attentional system, which is what drives who and what you pay attention to.

The first component is something we call daydreaming mode. This is where you envision the future, projecting yourself into a situation and imagine how that encounter might play out. The interesting thing is that scientists have uncovered that this is the default state of your mind. Basically, whenever you are NOT focused on a task, you are in daydreaming mode.

The second component is the “stay-on-task” mode. This is the mode you use when you are doing your taxes, writing a report, or trying to drive in a foreign country. Researchers call this mode “the central executive.”

While you are awake, you are in one of those two states, but never at the same time.

The third component is the attentional filter, which determines, as you might expect, what you pay attention to. Your mind doesn’t have the capacity to pay attention to everything that is going on around you, so it filters out everything that it deems irrelevant to you right now. For instance, your brain doesn’t register all of the cars zipping by you on the other side of the highway when you are on your way to visiting Uncle Joe in upstate New York.

There are two principles that the attentional filter uses to decide what to pay attention to – change and importance.

Your brain quickly notices anything that changes in the environment, and lets those things through. For instance, if you are driving on a smooth road and all of a sudden it gets very bumpy, your mind will become aware of it instantly.

Your brain also notices things that are personally important to you. For instance, if somebody in a crowded room says your name, you’ll hear it loud and clear.

The fourth component of the attentional system is the attentional switch, allowing us to direct our attention to one thing, and then to another.

Here’s a practical example to explain how this works in the real world. Let’s say you are reading a book, and you are “in the zone.” Then, all of a sudden, your phone buzzes – a change in your physical environment that your attentional filter lets through. At that moment, you decide that you want to see who just sent you a text and what it says, and you use your attentional switch to direct your attention from the book to the text message.

All of this happens so fast that we’re not aware that we are switching modes, nor are we conscious of making a decision. But that’s exactly what we do.

How Memory Works
We’ve covered exactly how memory works – or more to the point, doesn’t work – in our summary of Stumbling Upon Happiness.

The quick version of that is that we don’t remember things quite nearly as well as we think we do. And to make matters worse, we don’t always know when we are recalling things accurately or not.

Which brings us to the ultimate conclusion that our memory sucks.

So what do we do about it? We find as many ways as we can to externalize our memories. This is an idea that goes all the way back to the Greeks, and it’s effectiveness has been confirmed over and over again by contemporary neuroscience.

There is evidence of this all around you. You don’t try and remember where you need to be at every moment of the day, you put your meetings in a calendar. You don’t try and remember all of the things you need to do, you make a todo list. And so on.

And this is where we start to discuss the strategies you can employ to create your very own Organized Mind.

Getting Part of Your Mind Outside Your Body
The most fundamental principle of the organized mind is to shift the burden of organizing from our brains to the external world.

The world’s most successful people all employ systems that help them determine what to pay attention to and how to remember important things.

One of the most important reasons for this is so that they can remain focussed on the most important tasks they have to complete.

In order to understand how they do that, we need to understand what happens if they don’t.

Your mind wandering mode does more than just think about the future. It is constantly scanning the environment for things that have remained undone. For instance, if you said that you would pick up some milk on the way home so your kids can have cereal tomorrow morning, your mind wandering mode will keep reminding you to do it. Which isn’t very helpful while you are in the middle of preparing for the biggest pitch in company history.

This consumes precious mental energy that you can’t afford to waste, because, as we’ve already covered, you have a finite amount of it every single day.

The simple solution to this problem is to write every down every thought that intrudes on what you are doing. As long as you write it down somewhere you know you’ll find it when you need it, your mind wandering mode will chill out, leaving you to focus on the pitch.

A surprisingly effective system for doing this is to use a 3×5 notecard system, with one item per card. You sort those cards into different categories, such as:

  • things to do today
  • things to do this week
  • things that can wait
  • junk drawer
  • shopping lists
  • errands
  • things to do at home
  • things to do at work
  • social
  • things to ask Pat to do
  • Things related to Mom’s health care
  • phone calls to make

This might sound like busy work, but the point is that getting things out of your mind and into some system that helps you get organized will ultimately free your mind to work on the most important things in your business and life.

Once your mind wandering mode knows that there’s a place for everything, and everything is in it’s place, it will let your “central executive” get back to work without interruption.

Now that we’ve covered how our minds work and the main principles of getting organized, let’s dive into some specific tactics and strategies you can use to be more productive.

Organizing Email
Most of you have your email programs set to put through arriving emails automatically or to check every few minutes. Basically, you have set up a scenario where you are systematically interrupted hundreds of times per day.

As we’ve already explored, this wreaks havoc on your attention, causing you to waste precious energy on task switching.
Instead, check email two or three times a day, at predetermined times. Even better, to keep your mind wandering mode at bay, schedule them in your calendar.

Organizing Stuff
No matter how efficient we become at organizing and externalizing our memories, sometimes we lose things. It’s best to create contingency plans for when we do.

For instance:

  • Hide a spare house key in your garden;
  • Keep a spare car key in your desk at work;
  • Use your phone to take a picture of your passport, driver’s licence, health insurance card, and both sides of your credit cards;
  • Carry a USB key with your medical records on it;
  • When you are travelling, keep one form of ID and some cash or one credit card separate from your wallet and other cards, so that you don’t lose everything all at once;
  • Carry an envelope for travel receipts when you are out of town.
  • Etc.

Organizing our social world.
The more successful you become, the bigger your social circles become, and the more you’ll need to be able to keep your social life in order.

One strategy that most successful people use is to keep contact files with contextual information such as:

  • where they met someone new;
  • what they talked about;
  • who introduced them.

Then, they will add tags or notes to help organize those entries into categories they can easily dive in and out of at a moments notice:

  • work friends;
  • school friends;
  • childhood friends;
  • best friends;
  • acquaintances;
  • friends of friends;
  • etc.

Organizing our Time
As a leader, most of the important things you need to get done require long periods of sustained focus and thought.
So, it makes sense to organize your day in order to accomplish that.

Set aside time blocks of at least one hour at a time to do your most important work.

Also, spend 5 or 10 minutes before that session with a mind-clearing exercise. Write down everything that’s on your mind before that session so that you can devote your entire mind to the focused work that needs to get done.

Make sure to schedule breaks in your work as well. No matter how well you’ve cleared the decks for focused work, you’ll get tired and your mind wandering mode will start to sneak back in. If you start to feel the itch to check your email, see what’s going on with your Facebook friends, or catch up on the news you just checked an hour ago, this is a sign that it’s time to take a break.

The world’s most successful people work this way, and not only do they get more done, they are less tired and neurochemically depleted after doing it.

Get Your Sleep
You’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating: you need to get your sleep.

Not only because it will allow you to bring better clarity and focus during your most important work, but because your brain processes information in 3 different ways while you sleep.

First, there is unitization – the combining of discrete elements or chunks of an experience into a unified concept. For example, musicians and actors who are learning a new piece might practice one phrase at a time – sleep binds these together into a seamless whole.

Second, there is assimilation – the brain integrates new information into the existing network structure of other things you already know. In learning new words your brain works unconsciously to construct sample sentences with them, experimenting how they fit into your preexisting knowledge.

Finally, there is abstraction – where hidden rules are discovered and then entered into memory. Sleep has been shown to enhance the formation and understanding of abstract relations, so much so that people often wake having solved a problem that was unsolvable the night before.


There are many arguments for having a place for everything and keeping everything in its place.

The most important of which is that it will allow your mind – the most powerful tool you have at your disposal – to focus on the work that’s most important to your long-term success.

If you are like my clients, you work hard learning how to grow your company or organization. You invest the time and money to improve your team for better results and increased value. The Readitfor.me tool has grown into a great resource for both personal and team growth, offering book summaries, micro courses and master classes.  Check out this link for details Readitfor.me and see how this tool can you build your company for long term success.

Tim Kinane

Call 772-210-4499  or email to set up a time to talk about tools and strategies to lead to better results.

Please share this with a friend/colleague

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

How Successful is Your Team?

“The only meaningful measure of a leader is whether the team succeeds or fails.”


Each month I share a favorite book review from Readitfor.me.

There is never enough time to read all the latest books – this tool is a great way to learn and to stay on top of the latest topics and new ideas.

If you are like my clients, you work hard learning how to grow your company or organization. You invest the time and money to improve your team for better results and increased value.

How successful is your team? Are you leading your team to success?

Read on.


Extreme OwnershipExtreme Ownership

by Jocko Willink Leif Babin

Readitfor.me   Review:

“So, there I was.…”

According to the authors of Extreme Ownership, this is how every story told by a Navy SEAL starts off.

“So there I was, pinned down by heavy fire, with only two rounds left in my rifle”. You know, the type of stories that probably would have turned out differently if you or I were the protagonist.

So here I am, trying to boil down some of the best leadership advice I’ve read in a long time into something you can read over your morning coffee. (Luckily, this is about as difficult as things get over here).

As Jocko Willink and Leif Babin tell us, “The only meaningful measure of a leader is whether the team succeeds or fails.” So get ready to take a good hard look at yourself as a leader, and prepare to start thinking differently about how you control your destiny.


Principle #1: Extreme Ownership

This section starts off with a story about a mission that almost blows up in their face – literally. Due to miscommunication between the Navy SEALs unit and a Marines unit there was a “blue-on-blue”.Which means that the Marines and Navy SEALs had mistakenly been firing on each other. One Navy SEAL took some shrapnel in the face, but miraculously nobody had been seriously injured or killed.

Situations like this aren’t taken lightly, and Willink thought that his career as a team leader could be coming to an abrupt end as a result. His boss and an investigating officer came in from another camp to dig in and find out what had happened.

Many things had gone wrong, and it would have been easy to point fingers at the people who had made the mistakes that day to try and escape the heat. But that’s not Willink did. He stood up in front of the group, including his commanding officer, and said:

“There is only one person to blame for this: me. I am the commander. I am responsible for the entire operation…And I will tell you this right now: I will make sure that nothing like this ever happens to us again.”

No matter what situation you find yourself in, you alone are responsible for the success or failure of your team. Period. If you do fail, you must accept full responsibility and then develop a plan to win.

As a leader, you not only take ownership of your role, you are responsible for anything that impacts your mission – including your people. If a person under your command is not performing up to par, you must train and mentor them. If they continue to underperform, then you must be loyal to the mission above all else and find somebody who can get the job done.

Principle #2: There are no bad teams, only bad leaders

If you’ve ever watched a video of Navy SEALs going through Hell Week (if you haven’t, hop over to Youtube and search for “Navy SEALs Hell Week”), you’ve seen them inside black inflatable rafts paddling through the ocean.Each class of SEAL recruits are split into teams that compete with one another over the course of the week. Each team is given a leader, who is in charge of getting the best out of his men in gruelling circumstances.

One year, Babin recounts, one of the teams was winning each race (Boat II) and another team was consistently coming in last (Boat VI). So one of the instructors decided to run a little leadership experiment. The leaders of the two teams would switch boats to see if the lacklustre performance of Boat VI could be explained by a lack of leadership.

The leader of Boat VI was understandably excited, because he had been dealt a hand of lousy recruits and simply couldn’t win with such a weak team. The leader of Boat II wasn’t happy, but quietly went to work figuring out how to get them to perform at a higher level than they were used to.

Right on cue, Boat VI was spurred on by their new leader and started to win every race, with Boat II having to settle battling for second place.

This highlights one of the most important leadership principles you will ever learn – that leadership is the greatest factor in any team’s performance.

Principle #3: You have to believe if you want to win

The SEAL team the authors fought with was called Task Unit Bruiser, which was the same unit that Chris Kyle – author of American Sniper – belonged to. They had a fearsome reputation as being the most lethal fighting unit in the Iraq War, and possibly ever.So when they were told that in order to run any mission they had to bring along Iraqi soldiers with them, they weren’t too happy. As Willink describes it, heading out into Ramadi (where they were fighting) was dangerous enough.

Imagine one day having another Navy SEAL literally watch your back as you complete your mission, to having somebody you don’t know with inferior training and questionable loyalty take their place.

Willink knew that if he didn’t understand and believe in the mission, his team wouldn’t tow the line either. And that might cost them their lives.

As it turns out, the reason higher ups had mandated that the Iraqi forces join the fight with the SEALs was that if they didn’t get Iraqis “on-the-job” training, they might not ever be able to complete the securing of Iraq. Without that, they might never go home.

So once Willink understood and bought into the “why” behind the mission, he was able to communicate the message with clarity and with confidence to his team. Once they understood why they were being asked to take on more risk and danger during their missions, they were able to move on and get to work.

The same goes for you in your role. If there’s anything that your are working on that you don’t completely believe in, you need to get that resolved – quickly.

As the authors note:

In order to convince and inspire others to follow and accomplish a mission, a leader must be a true believer in the mission.

Principle #4: Check your ego

Because of the need to sometimes blend in with the local population in the Middle East, Navy SEALs are known for growing beards and generally not keeping up a “disciplined appearance.” Unfortunately, they are sometimes also known for being arrogant.The authors tell the story of one Navy SEAL unit being shipped in to work out of a base that was owned and operated by the Army.

They rolled into town wearing baseball caps, cutoff shirts and egos that Donald Trump would approve of. This didn’t mix well with the extremely disciplined routine the Army soldiers were required to follow. The colonel in charge of the base mandated this discipline because they were in the most dangerous part of Iraq, and any slip up in protocol, no matter how small, could cost them their lives.

Not only were these SEALs condescending to the Army soldiers, they weren’t interested in learning what the Army had learned running missions in Ramadi.

Ultimately, the SEAL group was asked to leave the base even though they were very capable and could have greatly helped their cause.

While belief in yourself and your team is crucial, having an outsized ego will only get in your way. It can cloud your judgment and get in the way of taking on constructive criticism.

As the authors point out, the most difficult ego to deal with is usually your own.

Principle #5: Cover and Move.

In the business world, when you hear the word “Teamwork” you might automatically picture some cheesy motivational poster with a group of people all rowing in the same direction. It’s very easy to dismiss the idea of teamwork as a bunch of you-know-what.But in combat, you literally rely on the other people you work with to keep you alive.

When they find themselves taking enemy fire and need to get from one place to another, SEALs operate a tactic called “Cover and Move”. Basically it means teamwork. One section of a team lays down fire on the enemy while another section moves forward and takes some ground. Then the reverse happens so the team who was laying down the fire can get caught up.

As a leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that when your team encounters trouble that their first instinct is to work together to find a way out rather than pointing fingers.

How can you tell if your teams are working together closely or if they are just giving it lip-service? Pay attention to the off-hand comments that they make. If your sales team calls your production team the “order prevention department”, for instance, that might be your cue to dig a little deeper to get things back on track.

There are enough enemies outside of your walls to deal with, right?

Principle #6: Keep things simple

If you are going to accomplish your mission, your people need to understand the plan. Even more important, when things go wrong, your team needs to understand how to fix it. This is almost impossible if your team doesn’t understand the mission, or the strategy you are using to accomplish it.Keeping things as simple as possible is the only way your team is going to be able to understand and execute. Why? Because your plan is almost always more complicated than you think it is. And no matter how well your plan is prepared, things almost always go wrong and decisions need to be made on the fly. If your team doesn’t understand the plan, it crumbles under it’s own weight at the first sign of trouble.

A great example of this in the business world is the commission structure you create for your sales people. If your team doesn’t completely understand how the work they do impacts their bonus level, you will never get the type of behaviour you are trying to encourage.

If your plan requires your sales people to pull out a calculator on every deal to understand what they are going to get paid on an order, it’s too complicated.

Principle #7: Leaders need to prioritize and execute.

When you find yourself in a situation where you are taking fire from all sides and everything seems to be falling apart around you, what do you do?Relax, look around, and make a call.

No matter what is going on around you, your job as a leader is to keep moving forward by making the best possible decision, given the circumstances.

The authors give us a step-by-step plan for getting things done when chaos erupts. First, decide what the highest priority problem is. You can only solve one thing at a time, so start with the most important.

Second, in clear and simple terms, tell your team what you’ll be focussing on.

Third, create a solution to the problem, seeking input both up and down the chain.

Finally, direct the execution of that solution, making sure all of your team’s efforts are focussed there until the plan is executed.

Rinse, wash, repeat.

Principle #8: Decentralized Command

In order for your team to execute your plan, teams must be broken down into small and manageable sizes, making sure to decentralize command so that front-line employees are empowered to make decisions.As human beings, we are not equipped to manage more than ten people at any one time, especially when problems come up and decisions need to be made quickly.

There are a few things that need to be in place in order for this to work.

First, senior leaders must communicate constantly and consistently with their front-line to ensure that the have the right information to make the right decisions. Your team must be crystal clear about the mission and strategy at all times.

Second, the front-line team must believe that senior leaders will have their back if they make decisions that are consistent with the mission and the strategy, even when they go wrong. It only takes one situation where a front-line employee doesn’t feel supported to grind decision making to a halt.

Lastly, like we’ve discussed before, the mission and the strategy must be simple so that you avoid the game of “broken telephone” that could easily occur with complex instructions.


The best leaders practice Extreme Ownership


Leadership always comes back to the first principle – you need to practice extreme ownership of whatever happens under your watch. There are many things you need to get right in order to be a great leader, but it all begins and ends with accepting 100% of the responsibility for the results that you and your team produce.

Are you ready to practice Extreme Ownership in your business and life?

Tim Kinane
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Monday, September 11th, 2017

7 Situations Where Business Owners Should Consider Bringing in Outside Investors

You believe your business would grow faster, if you had more cash. Or, perhaps you’d buy out that partner who’s not in sync with the direction the company is going in, if you had more cash. Or, perhaps you’d take some cash home to diversify your wealth and sleep better at night, if you had more cash. Whatever your specific need is, perhaps you’d do it—if you had more cash. That’s just the thing though.



How do you get more cash to accomplish your business needs, without giving up  …    read more



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