Have you given up on your New Year’s Resolutions yet?

According to an interesting study performed by the University of Scranton and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 64% of surveyed New Year’s resolution-makers kept their commitments for even a month. After six months that percent drops 46%. For those of us over 50, the statistics are pathetic – just 14% of us keep our resolutions for the year. If you are a sprightly twenty-something, the chances that you will keep your resolutions are a whopping 39%. So why is this? Why do we all give up so easily? Two reasons 1) It is often challenging to go it alone, and 2) Change is difficult. This week we will touch briefly on the lonely mindset of self-discipline.

The truth is that nobody can make us change – only we can make that decision. We can choose to stop smoking or eating sweets, or to make the necessary calls to develop new business. These decisions will not happen simply because someone tells us to do something. We are free to make our own decisions. However, we are not free from the consequences of our decisions. If we continue to eat sweets – there are no immediate ramifications. However, this behavior, left unchecked for a protracted period, will certainly result in weight gain and will ultimately have an impact on our overall health. We make choices for the short term but can suffer greatly in the long run.

Here are a couple of obvious strategies that will help you go the distance to achieve your goals.

Chew the Elephant One Bite at a Time. Break your goals into more manageable, measurable mini-goals.
Measure your progress. Keep track of your progress with a chart, diary or other method. This will demonstrate your success and drive you to even greater self-discipline.
Treat yourself. Practice positive reinforcement by giving yourself small (non-conflicting) rewards for each mini-goal achieved.
Really? Make your goals realistic. We often over estimate what we can accomplish in a year and underestimate what we can accomplish in five years. It is the small achievements over a longer period of time that will create dramatic results in our business or in the mirror.
There will be setbacks. Just plan on it. New habits usually take time to form. There is no reason to expect oneself to go from poor business habits to excellent ones without complications. Understand that it will happen and get back to your discipline immediately.
Buddy-Up A very successful approach to success is to publicize your goals so you create cheerleaders while tremendously increasing the cost of failure. If you team up with a friend or business partner with a similar or joint goal, you are likely to drive each other to achievement.

This final piece is extremely powerful. Recently, there was a newly launched app called LifeKraze. The app crowd-sources in order to provide a personal cheering section for keeping (and achieving) personal or professional goals. Call it a coach, mentor, buddy or accountability partner – the truth is that the statistics tell us that we all need one.

This week – tell those you most value what your goals are for 2013 – better yet – take them on the ride with you!

Be your best everyday!

Coach Kirby

Monday Minute – New Year’s Resolutions Gone Bad – Part two.

Last week we began our investigation into the causes of “resolution implosion”. In a Clinical study from the University of Scranton it was found that, depending on the age group, the maintenance of resolutions varied from a low of 14% to a high of 39%. Meaning that, at best, 61% of goal-makers could not maintain their resolve for just one year. This week let’s touch on the second part of this challenge – the difficulty of change.

There is an algebraic expression for change called Gleicher’s Formula. It says:

D x V x F > R

D= dissatisfaction, V=Vision, F= First steps and R= Resistance

Meaning that the product of your dissatisfaction about where you are right now, times your vision of what you could be accomplishing, times the cost and effort of first steps must be greater than the power of your resistance. So to ensure a successful adherence to our resolutions, (change) we must 1) look at your competition and see what is possible and probable with others in your same situation or industry, 2) build out our vision and become emotionally moved by what is possible, 3) identify those crucial, early steps towards making that now built-out vision a reality.

Unfortunately, once you have set your vision – reality gets in the way. Goals are free but the path to them is not. Soon, vision will become clouded by the obstacles that invariably appear. This is where most people become despondent. However the lesson from all the research is that more than anything else, the ability to pick oneself up after faltering is precisely what is required for success in most areas of life.

Set your goals and never let go this year! You might just love where you end up!

Have a tremendous week!

Coach Kirby

Are your Priorities Reflected on your calendar?

It has been said that your email inbox is nothing more than the well-organized priorities of everyone else. Is that also true of your calendar? Would it be apparent to a stranger looking at your calendar what your highest priorities might be?

In my work with even the greatest clients, I have learned that what a leader might say is important to them and what they actually do, are sometimes not in coordination. It follows that what we value most requires the time to achieve. Whether it is being a great Dad, or a great business owner plotting a positive trajectory for the business and all that work in it, the one absolute is that it will not happen unless the time, effort and focus are applied in direct relationship to the goal’s priority. It is extremely difficult in today’s ridiculously paced business world to try to get everything accomplished. Therefore, we must choose. Choose sometimes to not make that meeting, attend that lunch, or answer that call until our highest priorities are met.

This week, write down your three highest personal and professional priorities. List them in importance and apply a reasonable amount of time to achieve your objectives. Now go to your weekly calendar and place the necessary appointments with yourself that need to be as sacred as an important client meeting. If something comes up – as it always has and always will – simply move the meeting with you instead of missing it. When we miss consistently committing the time to our goals – plainly put – we miss achieving our goals. Missing our goals creates self-doubt and an unwillingness to establish new ones. This is what happens to the average executive – be more than average this year!

Have a productive week!

Coach Kirby


As we examine the root of poor cash flow – it comes down to four key areas; payables, receivables, inventory and financing. It is the administration of these areas that leads to a cash-gap – which will ultimately create a cash-flow challenge. The cash-gap is the time between paying for your goods/services and collecting for them. In the next four weeks we are going to examine each of these four areas in detail. Our objective will be to suggest some possible improvements so that it can trigger a strategy that you can immediately implement into your business. This week, let’s start with our payables.

1. Consolidate vendors for better pricing. Just as we compete with many other companies that offer the same products and services, so too there are multiple vendors that can fulfill our needs. We can either delve into a process of cost comparison, or we can look at current vendors and consolidate our ordering around the one with the best value and terms.

2. Increase the credit taken from suppliers and extend terms. Go back to every vendor with whom you do work and negotiate for better terms or extended credit. Those with the most lenient terms deserve your loyalty.

3. Make prompt payments only when worthwhile discounts apply. Push your pay cycle to the limits of your extended credit unless a vendor makes early payment options worth your while.

4. Pay your bills promptly to demonstrate your value as a new customer. After you build a history of payment with new vendors, negotiate extended payment terms – a supplier will often give a good customer 30 to 90 day terms.

5. Keep overheads to a minimum. It is critical to minimize fixed costs inside of your business. Before purchasing something, set increased sales goals to justify and fund the expense.

6. Go to twice-monthly payroll – 24 periods. This one can become unpopular unless it is well handled. Employees must understand the mission or the enterprise and be excited to be part of the team. For sales employees move towards paying commissions and bonuses in the 2nd pay-period in the month following the activity. It is even better to pay on collections instead of billing. This incents the salesperson to be vigilant about collecting and sharing the burden of selling only to those clients that are either Cash-In-Advance or credit worthy.

If you have any questions about how to implement these strategies, I welcome your call. Next week, we will make some suggestions in the area of receivables. Until then, have a tremendous week!

Pesky Persistence – Part 2

Is your plan still correct? If not, update the plan. Is your goal still correct? If not, update or abandon your goal. There’s no honor in clinging to a goal that no longer inspires you. Persistence is not stubbornness.

This was a particularly difficult lesson for me to learn. I had always believed one should never give up, that once you set a goal, you should hang on to the bitter end. The captain goes down with the ship and all that. If I ever failed to finish a project I started, I’d feel very guilty about it.

Eventually I figured out that this is just nonsense.

If you’re growing at all as a human being, then you’re going to be a different person each year than you were the previous year. And if you consciously pursue personal development, then the changes will often be dramatic and rapid. You can’t guarantee that the goals you set today will still be ones you’ll want to achieve a year from now.

The value of persistence comes not from stubbornly clinging to the past. It comes from a vision of the future that’s so compelling you would give almost anything to make it real.

Persistence of action comes from persistence of vision.

Pesky Persistence – Part 1

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

The slogan “Press On” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
- Calvin Coolidge

Persistence is the fifth and final pillar of self-discipline.

What Is Persistence?

Persistence is the ability to maintain action regardless of your feelings. You press on even when you feel like quitting.

When you work on any big goal, your motivation will wax and wane like waves hitting the shore. Sometimes you’ll feel motivated; sometimes you won’t. But it’s not your motivation that will produce results — it’s your action. Persistence allows you to keep taking action even when you don’t feel motivated to do so, and therefore you keep accumulating results.

Persistence will ultimately provide its own motivation. If you simply keep taking action, you’ll eventually get results, and results can be very motivating. For example, you may become a lot more enthusiastic about dieting and exercising once you’ve lost those first 10 pounds and feel your clothes fitting more loosely.

When to Give Up

Should you always persist and never give up? Certainly not. Sometimes giving up is clearly the best option.

Have you ever heard of a company called Traf-O-Data? What about Microsoft? Both companies were started by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Traf-O-Data was the first company they started, back in 1972. Gates and Allen ran it for several years before throwing in the towel. They gave up. Of course they did a little better with Microsoft.

If they hadn’t given up on Traf-O-Data, then we wouldn’t have such rich collections of Microsoft and Bill Gates jokes today.

So how do you know when to press on vs. when to give up? We will deal with that question next week! Until then…Be Persistent!

Major in the Minor

It is better to be the best in a niche than just a face in a busy crowd. I met a realtor who markets himself as an expert in the disposition of real estate for those in divorces. Why would he do this? 1) There are 5,936 Realtors in San Antonio, 2) The divorce statistics in America are 45%-50% of first marriages end in divorce, 60%-67% of 2nd marriages and 70% – 73% of third marriages all end in divorce, 3) This is a unique situation with particular complications that most realtors will not want to deal with – he did his research and became an expert, 2) He represents both parties – so each needs a new place to live.

In your business – what is your specialty – you can have more than one. Be a specialist – market yourself heavily to that vertical and watch magic happen!

Be the best!

To your success!