LearnShareProsper logo Boosting Business_Performance Adele Sommers
by Adele Sommers, Ph.D.
 www.LearnShareProsper.com Adele@LearnShareProsper.com 
In This Issue

December 2020
Volume 16, Issue 12

These are free monthly tips on boosting business and professional results.

Start your subscription!

To change subscription options, please see the bottom of the page.

Facebook logo Like us on Facebook!


Below find this month’s newsletter, hot off the press!

  • Feature Article: Shifting Your Mindset Creates the Conditions for Success

Please add “Adele@LearnShareProsper.com” to your whitelist or address book in your e-mail program, so that you have no trouble receiving future issues.

You subscribed to this newsletter at LearnShareProsper.com. You’re very welcome to forward it to your colleagues; please just keep the entire message intact. If you wish to discontinue your subscription, please use the links at the bottom.

Note from the Author

Where Are Your Life Passions Taking You?

My last newsletter
explored the subject of doing what we love — specifically, why it’s so important to discover our passions in life and use them to propel our business or professional aspirations in potent and meaningful directions.

Race car revving upWithout this crucial perspective, it’s quite possible, and probably likely, that we will take far too many detours into ventures that are convenient and expedient, but that don’t fuel our existence in any significant way.

And as we zoom around in the racecar of life, we sometimes fail to recognize in our excitement and enthusiasm that our mindsets may not have kept pace with the rapid changes we’re making. We may have become conditioned to think and react in a particular pattern, unaware that what’s coming around the bend could require us to adopt an entirely different point of view.

Some of these patterns begin to emerge when we assume our very first role as an employee. Being employed often represents a logical starting point early in life, as it’s usually much easier to be hired to do a job than it is to, say, start a business right out of school. However, it usually requires a certain amount of conformity to a company’s norms.

So, the most dramatic shifts can occur when we strike out on our own, often after a long period of immersion in corporate, academic, military, or government settings. If we’re not ready for the new challenges of independence, it may take a bit of floundering before we come to grips with the new set of expectations. That’s why the articles below take a deeper look at what happens in these situations.

I hope you enjoy this month’s features, and please be sure to share your thoughts by leaving your comments on my Facebook page!

Here’s to your business prosperity,

Adele Sommers, Ph.D., business improvement specialist, author, educator, and award-winning instructional designer

P.S. If you missed any previous issue, please visit the newsletter archive!

Special Message

Are You Locked in the Trunk of Your Car?

Comparing different working modes using a car analogy
Whenever I’m advising clients or protégés, I frequently find myself using a car analogy to describe what might transpire during the span of our careers.

Particularly if we start off as employees in a large company, it’s not unusual to develop an employee mindset in which we never learn to “drive” the company car.

In fact, we might not even be able to see out the front window of the car — much less steer — if the company does not somehow involve us routinely in making business decisions. As employees, that’s the only way we would be able to gain experience in navigating the road.

Based on my own experience and what I’ve observed in many others, I feel the car analogy helps compare different working modes in our lives. These modes may repeat and even overlap extensively. All options are essentially neutral, as each avenue we pursue can serve us well at the right place and time. The point is that during each shift in our lives, our mindsets must evolve to keep pace with the demands of each new scenario. Consider the following four modes:

  • Employee mode - can feel in some cases as if we’re “locked in the trunk of the car,” unable to see where the organization is headed. As employees, we can become conditioned to a feeling of passive security, where all major decisions are made by others. In job interviews, we’re expected to passively respond to questions based on a relatively passive marketing tool, a résumé.
  • Contract mode - is the next stage in the progression where we take on work that others have outsourced. Since we are independent, we must at least be able to able to see out of the “front window” of our metaphorical car, even if it only occurs from the “back seat.” To pursue new business, we might use brochures and similar proactive marketing materials, including proposals.
  • Consulting mode - puts us even closer to being in full control of our vehicle because we are taking a trusted advisory role with our clients. This places us figuratively in the “passenger’s seat,” where we see our clients’ challenges clearly and may even be holding the navigation map. To solicit new business, we might rely more heavily on proposals in addition to other marketing tools.
  • Entrepreneurial mode - places us squarely in the “driver’s seat” of the vehicle, particularly if our goal entails building a self-propelled, turn-key operation that hires employees and can eventually run without our day-to-day involvement. In this mode, we and our team must make all risk-reward decisions, based on a business plan or a similar strategic planning process.
Feature Article

Shifting Your Mindset
Creates the Conditions for Success

by Adele Sommers

Do you have a crystal clear idea of what kinds of business undertakings align with your gifts, talents, passions, and strengths? If so, you’re in an excellent position to choose the prospects that will give you the greatest satisfaction and results.

Woman puzzling over which path to takeIf not, this article explains why developing a set of business or professional success criteria can help you select a worthwhile endeavor with much deeper insight, and thus establish conditions for successfully pursuing it.

Why is this crucial? Many people wander into their businesses, projects, or professions opportunistically, meaning that they grab something that comes along because it’s available and convenient. At times, this might be prudent and necessary for financial reasons.

But unless we understand our underlying success criteria, we might not recognize the options that truly fuel and inspire us — those aligned with our passions and strengths — that give us the stamina and staying power we’ll need to succeed in the long run.

From “Corporate Trunk” to “Entrepreneurial Driver”

Identifying one’s business success criteria might be more challenging for some people than for others. For example, those who leave corporate life to pursue an entrepreneurial vision may benefit from going through an incremental discovery process, rather than making one giant leap from employee to business owner. Therefore, I’ll use the following story to illustrate how this journey might occur.

Roger and Roberta have grown weary of the grind and internal politics of their corporate lives. When their kids leave home, they conclude that it’s time to switch to something more rewarding. But what? After a great deal of thought, they decide to start by contracting out their services to their former employers, which seems like the safest way to begin their transition. Later, they believe they’ll tackle some other kind venture together, such as starting or buying a business.

Although they don’t fully realize it yet, after many years of working as jobholders, their mindsets are still functioning in an employee mode. Because their outlooks revolve primarily around meeting the expectations of others, Roger and Roberta simply haven’t developed their own sets of values, visions, and goals.

Locked in the trunk of the vehicleIn some ways, they feel as if they’ve been continuously locked in the trunk of a moving car, unable to steer. But to pursue running their own business, they’ll need to find a way to progress in stages by getting out of the “trunk” and moving into the “driver’s seat,” where they’ll have more visibility and control over their destinies.

What they’ll discover is that making this transition will require them over time to:

  • Start shifting from thinking like employees to thinking like contractors
  • Expand from thinking like contractors to also thinking like consultants
  • Ultimately, to run a business, they’ll need to think like entrepreneurs

Seeking Their Success Criteria

Roger’s and Roberta’s journey occurs in three stages as they gradually undergo the transformation from one mindset to the next.

1) Making the transition from employee to contractor

As Roberta and Roger begin contracting their services to their former employers, they learn how to set up their own business identities, home offices, schedules, and accounting systems. At first, it feels gratifying and interesting to be sitting on the “outside” for a change, while also enjoying a stable paycheck, at least for the time being. Yet much like their prior employee days, they are continuing to work with the same quirky people to meet the same underwhelming expectations.

Soon, the projects they’re working on seem tedious and dissatisfying because of the highly predictable problems and shortcomings. Eventually, Roberta and Roger begin to question what they’re really seeking from self-employment. They secretly yearn to climb off of the tiresome treadmills that characterize their current situation. All they’ve really done is reintroduce themselves back into their old work environments without changing many of the parameters.

2) Making the transition from contractor to consultant

After much discussion and introspection, Roberta and Roger recognize that they have not yet developed an independent perspective on their professions. They see that everything they’ve done so far satisfies someone else’s conventions rather than their own.

Consultation in progressBut now they’re operating in a self-governing mode. They have no need to view themselves as quasi-employees if they choose to portray themselves differently.

It eventually begins to dawn on them that their former employers are now their clients, and that they can see themselves as consultants (guides and advisers), in addition to being contractors.

This means they have a need — and a right — to set their own policies and design procedures and best practices for their service businesses.

Whenever their assigned projects backfire with predictable problems, they don’t need to quietly defer to the people who are making mistakes. They can make proactive recommendations, set reasonable boundaries, and communicate their philosophy for helping their clients avoid similar pitfalls.

Roberta and Roger also see that they can look for new clients whose outlooks and approaches align with their own. Once they better qualify their clients, they will have more satisfying working relationships and outcomes. They are no longer feeling the need to accept clients on a financial basis only; nothing seems worth the hassle and stress of bad relationships and projects. This realization represents their first major step toward establishing their own business success criteria!

3) Making the transition from consultant to entrepreneur

Roger and Roberta are happier, but still unclear about what represents an ideal scenario and how they would know it if they saw it. They resolve to undertake a methodical, soul-searching process to better align their business goals with their mission in life.

Entrepreneur sitting at a computerDuring this insightful journey, they meticulously identify their business success criteria by examining their life passions, purpose, strengths, gifts, and core values.

By the end, they have a list of the specific ways in which they can judge their future business ventures, partners, clients, and projects. Some of the criteria are more practical and others more lofty. But each criterion seems essential to achieving balance, fulfillment, and higher contribution in their lives.

For example, their criteria include everything from maintaining a healthy mix of work and recreation to seeking only what they believe they could be the best in the world at doing. Roger and Roberta then proceed to assign numerical weights to their criteria. In this way, they produce an invaluable checklist for comparing, scoring, evaluating, and selecting future business ventures, which will thereby set the conditions for success.

In conclusion, aligning our life passions with our business purpose helps us define our business success criteria. If we move into a contracting, consulting, or entrepreneurial mode, especially after many years of corporate employment, those criteria illuminate how to choose the right situations, and establish the conditions for successfully pursuing them.

Copyright 2020 Adele Sommers

The Author Recommends

Learn How to Think and Act Like an Entrepreneur

"The E-Myth Revisited" by Michael GerberThe E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It,” second edition, by Michael E. Gerber, is a must-read for anyone thinking of starting a business, especially following a long stint as an employee.

Using engaging stories and anecdotes, Gerber weaves a compelling argument that most people merely “buy a job” when starting their own companies. Owners often assume the familiar role of a technician or manager instead of adopting the crucial new perspective of entrepreneur.

Gerber’s advice is to learn to work on the business rather than in the business. He recommends systematizing each process so that others can perform all of the key tasks.

About the Author

"Straight Talk" Special Report
"Straight Talk" Workbook

Adele Sommers, Ph.D. is the author of “Straight Talk on Boosting Business Performance” — an award-winning Special Report and Workbook program.

If you liked today’s issue, you’ll love this down-to-earth overview of how 12 potent business-boosting strategies can reenergize the morale and productivity of your enterprise, tame unruly projects, and attract loyal, satisfied customers. It’s accompanied by a step-by-step workbook designed to help you easily create your own success action plan. Browse the table of contents and reader reviews on the description page.

Adele also offers no-cost articles and resources to help small businesses and large organizations accelerate productivity and increase profitability. Learn more at LearnShareProsper.com.

LearnShareProsper.com/Business Performance_Inc.,
705 North State Street #187, Ukiah, California, USA.

For more information, e-mail Info@LearnShareProsper.com.


©2020 Business Performance_Inc., Adele Sommers, All rights reserved. www.LearnShareProsper.com

Your feedback is always appreciated! Write to us at info@LearnShareProsper.com. We respect your privacy and do not give out or sell subscriber names or e-mail addresses.

Please use the links below to take yourself off our list or change your e-mail address.