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Brent Spilkin

It’s Been One Hell Of A Year, So Stop Punishing Yourself.

By Business Coaching Lifestyle Motivation No Comments

 

So the year is fast approaching its apex and although there is a massive pressure built-up to get as much done as humanly possible in this final stretch – it should be said that it’s okay to start taking it easy and right before tinnitus kicks in, to turn down the volume just a little bit.

We can all agree that this year has been extremely unpredictable, to say the least and (without any lube) it’s taken almost every business for a rough ride; leaving many limping away in shame.

I’m usually one for telling my clients to end the year off on a high note, with high-energy and a force not to be reckoned with, but this time is a little bit different.

It’s been tough. So don’t push yourself to the edge, we’ve made it through one crazy year.

 

Fight, Flight, or Just Chill 

Other than the fact that the year has been emotionally taxing on everyone, dealing with a crisis that nobody could have foreseen, there are numerous reasons to be counting your blessings and taking joy in the fact that you’ve made it this far.

With a barrage of complications putting us on edge, Covid has certainly left behind a rotting and pungent smell.

When Ramaphosa pops up on TV, we’re left with surges of stress and adrenaline – what now? Another lockdown, more regulations? Constantly in a state of uncertainty, we find ourselves causing more harm than good.

In typical situations that call for a fight or flight response, our bodies produce the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. We’re forced to make quick decisions that cause a momentary stress for us and have to deal with the outcome as quickly as possible.

However, this pandemic has forced us on a slow-drip of these stress hormones; giving us short doses every time a new rule, regulation or barrier is presented to us. This cannot be healthy and certainly creates high-levels of discomfort in our psyche.

This slow release of hormones makes us anxious, edgy and hypersensitive (almost like a bunch of crack addicts) which in itself is physically and psychologically draining, taking a hefty toll on our minds and bodies.

We’re certainly not getting enough of the feel-good hormones, serotonin and dopamine, and need to seek out some of that good shit to find some balance amongst the chaos rummaging through our bodies.

That’s why it’s so important to ease off on yourself, a little bit more than usual. Take a bit of a chill pill and relax. I’m not saying drop everything, say “fuck it, I’m done” and walk away. Just don’t be so hard on yourself to reach unrealistic expectations for yourself, or your business.

 

A Three-Phase Plan to Find A Bit Of Solace

In the struggles that businesses are facing, there needs to be some sort of comfort found.

By constantly attempting to seize the day, ‘carpe diem’ acts as an anchor and defence mechanism, instead of a motivator. If I stay as busy as possible, I don’t need to face the guilt and think about all the stress that wants to give me an ass-kicking.

Don’t be trapped by the guilt of being highly productive; being a little bit useless or lazy is OKAY. It doesn’t have to be binary – either keep producing (1), or I’m useless (0).

You’re only human.

Take a little break and think about these three phases to deal with the end-of-year demand:

Phase 1: Is to understand. Become aware of the circumstances and understand the threat to your well-being. We all know that Covid is a huge reason for our current state of stress and this can extend to financial insecurity, guilt and anxiety around what could come next.

Phase 2: Show compassion (to yourself). There’s no better time to take a step back and show a degree of love towards yourself, be compassionate towards the hell that you’ve gone through, at least you can rest assured knowing that you’re not the only one. Give yourself time to rest and recover a little bit. Find the dopamine and serotonin in life to bring back some of that swagger.

Phase 3: Be a little bit fatalistic. I don’t generally believe in fate and prefer knowing that I have control over my circumstances, but it’s important to sometimes go with the flow, instead of trying your hardest to swim upstream. What are you constantly fixating on in your head? Let it go. Not being aware of the future reality that awaits is perfectly okay. It doesn’t serve you to wonder “what if?” rather deal with what is.

A quote by Eckhart Tolle, that certainly resonates with me, “life will always give you the experience that is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience that you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment,” goes to show that certain things happen for a reason and are meant to shape and mould you into a better person and business-owner at the end of the day.

Being present, living in the moment and finding acceptance of the current circumstances we’re being faced with will bring you far more peace-of-mind, than by needlessly stressing and wondering about what could be.

It’s okay not to over-work yourself over the next few weeks. Don’t push yourself too hard and have the burden of unnecessary pressure on yourself. You’ve done your best.

Focus on the easy high-impact work in the final stretch of the year and don’t bother working too hard on difficult low-impact work that will keep you in a state of crazy.

 

I leave you with this final quote:

We suffer more often in imagination than in reality,” Lucius Annaes Seneca.

 

I’ve been working hard to find inner peace and to be guilt-free in this time of intense change. It can be difficult to ease the mind.

If you’re facing that crunch and have an outpour of stress that your business is suffering, don’t hesitate to contact me. Sometimes it helps to have someone that has your back and understands what you’re going through and that you can talk openly to:

+2783 253 3339

brent@spillly.com

 

 

 

 

The Best $1m I lost – a keynote to OPEN WINDOW School

By Coaching Creative Public Speaking No Comments

When asked to speak to 4th year students on the lessons learned coaching creative entrepreneurs, I jumped at the opportunity but threw a curve ball back at the head of the department;

Get your students to design and illustrate the presentation deck!

They gladly accepted the challenge and what they produced was phenomenal – check it out! Each slide is unique and was produced off a pretty lousy brief I gave them. It made for a highly interactive presentation and is something I’m sure I’ll do again next year!

I tailored the talk to the audience [as one always should, if you know who they are] – enjoy.

If you love what you saw, hit subscribe or hit me up brent

Spillly business coach

What is a Business Coach?

By Business Coaching Coaching Interviews No Comments

Spillly business coach

A business coach is someone that helps business owners and their management teams proactively approach defining their business growth objectives and then assisting them in the strategic thinking and planning to achieve their desired outcomes. Business coaches should be objective to their clients’ targets only and persuade them to learn the academic means to better themselves and make their organizations smarter. A good coach should become your theoretical silent partner who is always a call and mail away. They are the propellant to your business growth and should assist you in making the right decisions that will impact your business positively while inspiring and motivating you and your team.

What is the difference between a coach and a mentor?

Mentoring is unstructured, unaccountable and subjective. Mentoring is often just someone you know and respect that has “done it before” who is offering you advice and guidance without being paid for his/her time. There are no timelines and goals set when being mentored while coaching is a structured approach, over a set period of time with clearly defined goals being adhered to. The coach is paid for his time and must remain 100% objective to your needs and goals and is non-advisory. [This means he/she will not give you any leading advice but will help motivate you to find your own solutions and keep you on the path to achieving your dream].

And the difference between a life coach and a business coach?

The coaching mechanisms remain the same; objectivity, paid for and non-advisory but with business coaching the conversation revolves mostly around building the business, its strategies, processes and policies etc. while with life coaching, the tools used help the individual become a better person and find what they would describe as “happiness.” Life coaching uses far more psychology than business coaching although they both do require a healthy understanding of the human psyche.

How do you define yourself and how did you get into the field?

I’m a business coach that sit neatly between coaching and consulting, meaning I do offer advice where the client is needing solutions to improve the pace to achieving their own growth targets in their business. I focus primarily on the media, advertising, communications and technology sectors giving me a great oversight of larger industry trends, opportunities and threats in the space that business owners may not see while working in their business.

What are the tools of the trade?

If you are not constantly reading about the space in which you play and not improving your own skills you are “dead in the water.” In my opinion it’s essential that you remain relevant to your client base by knowing more than they do, at every stage of their business. This relates to the operations of the business and not necessarily their product or service. Having experience in multiple industries and having seen many ways in which businesses have succeeded, failed and been mediocre gives a coach perspective that is invaluable to his/her clients. Its valuable to have a formal business education as well as exposure to psychology as business coaches will deal with the academics of running a business as well as the softer aspects like motivation, depression and anxiety.

What are some of the myths around life coaches and coaches in general?

Not everyone can be a coach, although everyone feels that they can be. It takes a certain kind of mind-set and patience to be able to operate at the multiple speeds of individual clients. I often get told that it must be easy being a business coach when the opposite is in fact true – on a daily basis you are problem solving in other peoples businesses and dealing with extreme emotional states where often the stakes are high and peoples lives and livelihoods are in the balance. Coaching is a calling, not a career.

 Why should someone see a business coach?

My first business coach always said “it’s lonely at the top!’ and being a business owner and entrepreneur is almost always hard. Having someone that can guide you, help with decision-making and call you out on your bullsh*t is invaluable to quickly navigating an uncertain growth trajectory. A great business coach can help you make more money, save money, define and grow your business to where you want and ultimately help the business serve your needs.

I am someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.

To find out if I am the right coach for you please email me and we can set up a virtual coffee at your convenience.

What will your network say about you?

By Business Coaching Coaching Motivation No Comments

Brand is not what you tell your customers, Brand is what your customers tell their friends.

In order to make money and be successful as an employee / business owner in South Africa – you need network. SA is a referral economy and your network is everything. The power and size of your network is directly proportionate to your future success. So what is network?

You know those people who are mid-level in your client base today? The people you studied with? Well, one day they will be leaders of large organisations and hopefully, you have proven your credibility, consistently for years so that when they are in power, you can be their provider. Your network is the people on the call today. I am your network. The longer you work, the harder you build your credibility, the more successful you will most likely be one day.

Here is the equation:

A strong network + credibility + skills to solve a problem = SUCCESS. simple.

BUT a network without credibility is worthless as credibility is your success currency. Being negative, being sloppy, being mediocre, being overly political in the workspace etc. etc. ruins credibility. You are a brand. You are building your own brand. Brand ME. What are people saying about your brand?  Are you credible? Are you leaving a trail of ambassadors for your brand behind you or a trail of non-believers? Or even worse – people who deliberately bad-mouth you because of poor historic performance?

Ask yourself daily: What will the people on this call say about me in the years to come? remarkable? forgettable? strong worth ethic or a little lazy?

Your network will never remember the work you did or the project you delivered in 5 to 10 years from today, but they will remember the way you delivered the work, the manner in which you spoke to them and the value you added to their lives. That is credibility. That is what determines your future success.

Remote office spillly

A Remote Office? Nevermind.

By Business Business Management Coaching Culture Entrepreneur No Comments

Remote office spilllyOver the past few months I have viewed and read countless opinion-based articles on the future of the office and how the last industrial revolution lead to what we now know as the brick ‘n mortar office. The problem is not with the point of view and insights but the repetitive nature and onslaught of the “experts” in the space. Like most offices, it’s all rather dull. The silver lining to Covid for some, including myself, has been the time to think and learn new skills outside of our comfort zones. I have rediscovered music and burned countless hours watching Rick Beato’s “Everything music” on YouTube [check him out!]

I have perhaps forgotten how much I love some good old rock ‘n roll and time at home has given me this luxury back. So now, for your entertainment and education please find a piece on the future of office that doesn’t suck, subtitled “If offices were rock bands!”

Drum roll please…

All one needs to produce a great rock song is a red guitar, three chords and the truth. Unfortunately producing a great remote working environment for a *service-based business is a tad more complicated and requires 5 stages of refinement.

  1. On stage one: Status Quo.

A band whose name literally means the current state of affairs was a formulaic rock band previously called The Scorpions before they renamed themselves in 1969. This band had no rock star mystique and what you see is what you get. We have all heard some of their songs, but I bet you couldn’t name them or even tell me if I played you one if it was a Status Quo song or not. They released 33 Albums [33!] and the only song that comes to mind is ‘Rockin’ all over the world [1977]. Like Status Quo, there are offices all over the world and even though they are prolific, they are what some might say, stale.

The Status Quo Office:

The Status Quo of offices are as we know them; non-deliberate, with no real move towards a decentralized system. Their knowledge workers can work away from the office for a day or 2 without leaving a major impact but the organization can’t function with team members being “absent” from their place of work for extended period of time. If you are happy to have staff off on sick leave or leave for a few days at a time, but need them back to work and are focused on bums in seats, then you are Francis Rossi, the lead singer from Status Quo: dull, stuck and now, irrelevant.

Status Quo was large format stadium rock. You could hide in the stadium just like your team “hides” by just being present in the crowd. Counted for, but not counted on.

From an employee’s perspective there is so much out of their control that it’s often constraining. One can’t control the room temperature, the shared toilets, no pets or pets, fresh air and windows, the smells, the talking of people over you, the kitchens, the shared fridges and the inconsideration of others.

 

  1. On stage 2: Linkin Park

What do you get when you take heavy metal music and combine it with other music genres such as hip hop, alternative rock, EDM, funk, industrial, and grunge and then throw in some singing, rapping, screaming and growling? Nü metal. And nobody did Nü metal better than Chester Bennington and the guys in Linkin Park. This is obviously my opinion, but I’m absolutely right! At first, their songs were 20% samples 80% instruments, and later was more like 60% samples and 40% instruments.

Linkin Park took elements from the big bands that came before them; Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, U2 and Korn and mashed them together to define a new sound that was timeous to the milieu. It was new, but it was just old thinking crushed together to make a new sound that filled stadiums. God, I miss Chester.

 

The LP office:

The Linkin Park of offices is simply recreating the office but online, trying to keep the past but doing it remotely. In the Linkin Park office you are now adopting some new technologies but still think time-based delivery and a factory model of online and inline office production work. In this group you are actually less productive as an organization than when you had an actual office. The processes, procedures and policies are just copied and pasted across the interwebs with no thought about the changed landscape and new efficiencies and frictions. You are still tracking where staff ARE.

Culture will be dramatically impacted here if an overhaul in the way you think doesn’t happen and you don’t love George, Ringo, John and Paul.

 

  1. On stage 3: The Beatles

Ok, ok, they may not be hard rock, but they were definitely “year one” of rock ‘n roll and pathed a way to so many great bands that followed and imitated them. They wrote their own songs and played their own instruments. Were they great musicians? Probably not the best but here’s where innovation trumps skill and their styles changed with the times and dominated every genre.

Yesterday” is the most recorded song of all time recorded more than 1,600 times by acts as diverse as Frank Sinatra and Boyz II Men. It easy to copy and works with the audience.

The Beatles reached a dizzying, gargantuan level of popularity and success that we had not seen before and have not seen since. They released the first “concept” album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” in 1967 and is almost certainly the most influential recording in popular music of the second half of the 20th Century.

When they stopped touring in 1966, they thought of the brilliant idea of sending videos on tour instead of themselves in order to promote their singles. Their promo videos, specifically “Paperback Writer” and “Rain”, are considered to be among the first “music videos.”

The Beatles office:

Necessity breeds invention and offices at The Beatles level take full advantage of the medium. This is where we start seeing synchronous meetings and smarter tech usage. The factory model of the previous industrial revolution is being disassembled and rebuilt. It is also typically where the business starts investing in better equipment and is starting to look at outcomes rather than inputs. Your organization is 100% laptop based and cloud hosted and is investing in the written word and increased written word quality.

The remote thinking has been replaced with a decentralized rational. Your people will be able to move houses, tweak furniture, buy equipment, upgrade their internet, and otherwise adapt to being more productive in a distributed environment than they ever could be in an office. Products and services are being perfected all around the world that will make it even better. It’s exciting to see how this decentralized model will improve the majority of people’s quality of life, and unlock incredible creativity and innovation at work.

The Beatles level will most importantly require a very different management style with more personal check ins and culture dipsticks in order to keep a closer eye on staff welfare as you can’t see the physical cues of staff in the office. The staff that have been dust on your shelf [read; lazy and unproductive] protected by the dark, now have early morning sunshine sprinkled all over them and it’s clearer now more than ever, who should stay and who should go. [See what I did there?]

 

On stage 4: Led Zeppelin

 

Led Zep were the definitive story tellers with the most harmonized percussion, voice and guitars. They were 1st and may never be repeated. This is why 50 years later, kids still talk about The Zep with Stairway to Heaven being one of the most recognizable songs ever. What is crucial to recognize here is that Led Zeppelin had a jazz-like asynchronicity something you can feel in a “Whole lotta love.”

Zeppelin was the right band at the right time and understood production and harnessed the studio’s potential to make a super-grandiose sort of hard rock with mystical overtones. John Bonham recognised as one the greatest drummers, kept the group together. They were the start of a music genre copied and envied by generations.

The Zep office:

Things go asynchronous, with people all not online at the same time. KPIs are judging WHAT they produce and not HOW or WHEN they produce. The global workforce start using a clean “baton hand off” between time zones and skills, delivering work in a third of the time, a Status Quo office can, in the designated traditional 9-hour day. You start intentionally hiring from the global talent pool with teams only in 2-3 time zones on a 24-hour production cycle.

In the Led Zep environment, there are less meetings and more time to be thoughtful with a higher level of critical thinking. There is a massive move towards a meritocracy supported by sophisticated online security and processes. People behave like trusted stakeholders and not employees. There is nowhere to hide now, and the stars shine brightly on centre stage. At this level, most companies have outsourced hardware already and trust the software to protect them and their privacy.

On the main stage: Nirvana

 

Firstly, and some may say most importantly, Kurt, Chris and Dave saved the world from hair metal. Nirvana helped get a whole new genre of music out into the mainstream and certainly changed an entire generation by tapping into a new Zeitgeist. There are few flawless albums in the history of hard rock that hit me the way Nevermind did. After Nevermind nothing was the same. On Nevermind, everything just seems right, this album is perfect end-to-end, from the first sounds of Smells Like Teen Spirit to the soothingly simple but haunting final chords of Something in the Way. It was a new way, a brand-new thinking and once you saw this you could not unsee it. The death of Kurt Cobain crystalized a moment in time that can always be reflected back on a change in the path of music for many. Kind of like Covid-19 has done for so many now.

The Teen Spirit office:

The word “Nirvana” divorced from the band, speaks directly to the almost unachievable. It is an idyllic state or place in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self. [Thank Wiki.] Something the current Zeitgeist is longing after, something that is not achievable in Status Quo office cubicles.

In the Nirvana workspace your business is doing better work than any office-based business could imagine

In Nirvana you can design your environment around health and wellness and exercising when it suits you. The old school HR department no longer indexes on time spend at the desk but will now focus entirely on output and quality. There are no questions about how or where you do the work and employers have no idea where their staff are hour to hour.

Dear team, there is nowhere to hide. In Status Quo there was ‘something in the way’ we worked that gave office staff a place to hide by being present [in the meeting, first to the office and last to go home,] dressing well and having a louder voice etc. It certainly appeared that these employees were delivering work and adding value, when they actually weren’t.

In Nirvana, just like Kurt, you can be socially awkward with no impact while now being recognised as the most productive, most creative and best thinking contributor who actually delivers valuable output.

The workforce and workspace is 100% distributed with organisational knowledge being hosted centrally on an internal “Wiki” with answers to FAQs and best of breed solutions to prior questions resolved in the org. Think internal Google alerts. A full work day is no longer 9-5 and people get paid for their own efficiencies and working smarter, meaning fast people work less and get paid as much as the slower people but can do more, output more and earn more.

I hope that people’s biases are removed in the new decentralized spaces where the work is being measured and not the people. Nirvana is a place where an organization’s communication is read with a positive intent first, so tone is never miscommunicated. Language and text will become human and kind, and audio is preferred over email, in fact, there is no space for email in Nirvana.

In Daniel Pink’s book “Drive,” he refers to three layers of an employee’s motivation and believes that if companies can give these three elements to their employees then the organization will thrive with happy, productive staff and clients:

  • Mastery – Are you able to get better at your job and can you accomplish your work?
  • Autonomy –Do you have the freedom and agency to control your environment to do work as effectively as possible?
  • Purpose –  Are you working for something bigger than your job, bigger than yourself or pay check – something that motivates you intrinsically?

None of these rely on an office.

“A common misconception about company culture is that if you have a good one, you have to hold on to it. I believe this to be wrong. If you want to have a great culture, the trick is to evolve it forward with your environment. Take the best things with you from version to version. Until recently, work happened in the office. We’ve always had some people remote, but they used the internet as a bridge to the office. This will reverse now. The future of the office is to act as an on-ramp to the same digital workplace that you can access from your #WFH setup.” – A tweet from Tobi Lutke, founder and CEO of Shopify.

The office; where most meetings are a waste of time, where the rumour mill and politics thrive, where proximity breeds contempt and where the old culture is protected. Yes, some firms and people will return to physically co-working with relative strangers, and some employers velcroed to the past will force people to go to brick n mortar offices, but the illusion that the office was about work has been shattered forever, and companies that hold on to that legacy thinking will be replaced by businesses who embrace the durable nature of distributed organizations.

@Spillly

Like all great musicians who were inspired by those before them, I have blatantly borrowed [and mixed] some thinking from Matt Mullenweg, Stephan Wolfram, Sam Harris, Tobias Lütke, Tracey Brower, Prof. Scott Galloway, Daniel Pink, Jo Meunier, Wikipedia and Rick Beato to produce this piece. *It’s also a sidebar but this all really only applies to organisations that sell knowledge and are not reliant on assets outside of laptops to deliver products.
spillly brent spilkin

THE R50 AVOCADO. | Lockdown Lessons day 23

By Business Coaching Coaching Mentoring Motivation No Comments

spillly brent spilkin

20 April 2020

Dear You,

How are you doing coping, coping and surviving?

I’m not an economist and if you are reading this, my guess is neither are you. Good. Let’s continue. There is a deluge of information being pushed into our conscious at the moment that speaks to the global depression, global recession, socialism vs. capitalism, universal basic income, the green movement and even minimalism. All of these ‘isms’ are stratospheric in thinking and don’t relate to yours and my everyday existence. The question that I’m now looking for an answer is “How does this affect me, my family and my bank account?

Let me unpack some of the bad news, the way I see it, which hopefully will lead us to a silver lining. WARNING: This is not a motivational piece; it’s a DE-motivational post that should give you awareness so you can act accordingly.

All this talk about a V-Graph, a U graph and flattening curves is mute. What is significant to me is how long this economic downturn, curve and flat line will last. Looking back at the 2008 economic crisis that was spurned by poor banking regulations and some fairly dishonest business leaders, is no-where near the size of this global setback brought on by the pandemic at hand. After the 2008 crisis South Africa lost approximately 850,000 jobs, which took 11 years to claw back to the 2009 numbers. The current unemployment figures are sitting pre-Covid at 38%. Some smart people are estimating this will slip to roughly 50% in the coming months. During the 2008 crisis and aftermath we also had the joy of experiencing the Zuma administration and its cronyism that has also pushed us to the brink exacerbating the entire situation. Covid pulled the proverbial trigger on an unstable situation.

The American government has allocated what looks like close to 10% of the annual US GDP to the financial relief and support efforts. That means that if every single person stopped producing work and every single business closed down the package could sustain everyone for 36,5 days [10% of the year.] This is not accurate as not everyone will stop working, the unemployment rate is nowhere near SA’s and some businesses will actually increase in size and add jobs to their payroll. Some of the European countries are allocating about 15% of GDP to the effort. Unfortunately South Africa does not have the resources of these developed countries and by early counts is only able to allocate 1% of our GDP to rescue efforts – 3,5 days in total. [Again, not an accurate number, but you get the grim point.]

Take these numbers and add a Dollar exchange rate of 18,9 [correct at writing] and the economy is going to strain massively under the leash of reduced consumer demand [less people with money to spend], retrenchments and expensive imports. So, what does this mean for us? If you are fortunate enough to walk away from the lockdown with a job that pays what you were earning before this trauma, then consider yourself lucky but be aware that your disposable income wont go a far as it did back in first quarter of 2020. It may be a few months before the current imports hit the shelves of your local store so don’t be fooled that things cost the same in the coming weeks as retailers and importers have hedged the last imports at pre-corona rates.

The best way I can explain the pain the top few percent of South African earners will feel is as follows; those beautiful Spanish Avocados that you buy from Woolworths will cost upward of R50 each. That’s going to make for an expensive Avo on toast.

So what you can you actually do now to prepare for this decrease in your buying power?

With the forced #stayinside you have undoubtedly seen a saving in fuel, gym memberships, double almond cappuccinos and those social dinners that cost 3 bags of groceries. According to change management theory a habit takes 21 days of repetition to gain traction. If you have seen a similar trend in your own household and can keep this habit going you can save a substantial amount of money of the coming years. Now this is not a lesson on wastage and rampant consumerism but perhaps buying local seasonal food and cooking a few times more a week could put a few thousand Rands back in your cash flow. Reduce your medical aid packages, downgrade your Internet connection and don’t upgrade that iPhone

Be ruthless with household cost cutting. Set a budget and treat it like the 10 commandments. Turn your sieve into a bucket and save money for the second wave of this pandemic. This will not only allow you to make it through the coming months but perhaps will even see you save for an early retirement filled with R50 Avos!

Thank you,

@Spillly

 

for further info please feel free to contact me

I’m thrilled about the Covid Lockdown extension | A sales strategy for fearless leaders with cash.

By Business Business Management Coaching Entrepreneur Motivation Strategy No Comments

For the audio of this blog click here

 

 

10 April 2020

Dear you,

Covid overload. Death tolls. Minimalism. Flattened curves. Acts of kindness. Memes. Screen fatigue. Emotional health. Conspiracy theories. Short-termism. Existential crisis. Lead generation webinars disguised as support networks. Oh, woe is me. Dick-stain Trump. I’m over this pandemic. Over the panic. Over waiting for the financial pain to come, but then so is your opposition and perhaps substantially more so. If you have money in the bank today, you may have a life raft. Now all you need is a way to paddle into prosperity.

Now, here is the part that you may not like. It may even turn you off a little. Get someone to hold back your hair while you throw up. Look away if you are scared. Be afraid of what I’m about to say:

Kill your opposition. Ensure they are drowning in the freezing shark infested waters of despair. Don’t pretend you give a shit, you don’t.

The lockdown extension is a blessing. Your glib, living the Instagram best life bastard-of-an-opponent that’s been sipping Champagne on the top deck of the Titanic and is always at the pitch table too, is most likely leveraged to the hilt, geared to kingdom come and not making payments on those gas guzzling German cars he/she couldn’t afford to buy cash. They have no life raft. Let them drown.

Your competition has bled all their cash and not acted quickly enough. They never booked a dingy. They have recently ruined their relationships with their own clients fighting over payments and pauses. Post lockdown, they desperately need to protect margin to keep the shareholders, the stakeholders, the sharks and the banks at bay. Why not learn and adopt a sales strategy from some of the most aggressively growing business in the world today? And it’s an uncomplicated one. Ready?

 

Don’t make a profit.

 

That’s it. Simple. For the next 6 months learn to live on the knife-edge of cash flow and zero profit and if today you have the stomach for this and some cash in the bank, sell at below cost and see how quickly the competition capsizes. Nobody can compete with zero margins when they are encumbered to others.

Pitch on everything at break-even. Land grab. Offer the competitions’ clients a life raft now. They too, are looking for deals as they have suffered and need support and cheap services. Brag ashamedly about your company’s stability, durability and reliability and ensure the market knows you will survive future traumas together. Unscathed.

The rich businesses will get richer and the majority middle class may be wiped out. Ephemeral thinking is for the middle class. Being eager to claw back profits now will flatten your oppositions curve. Why offer them a lifeboat to cling to when you can chum the waters?

@Spillly

 

Thanks to my editor at large @TheJoLurie

 

THE THREE C’S OF COVID | Lockdown Lessons.

By Business Coaching Coaching Entrepreneur Motivation Strategy No Comments

 

[ For the audio version of this blog post, click here]

 

Last week, I growled a few times and then spoke about my learnings from Day 1 of lockdown. It was rather uplifting in nature and inspirational in tone. Don’t get used to that. Today I’m writing to you with a far more aggressive stance. No lube. No pulled punches. No sanitiser on the trolley. Hold tight.

                                                 6 April 2020

Dear You,

Your initial shock of remote working, the lockdown and an immanent economic depression should have settled down by now, leaving you with the raw reality of your cash reserves, the hard conversations with your team and clients, and the harder conversation you haven’t had with yourself, yet.

You now face the 3 C’s of Covid, all resulting in change. Yes, the 3 C’s – I’m making this shit up as we go.*

The first C is CHOICE

You have the power to make choices now. Being proactive, even if the path is unknown, gives you huge agency and allows you to thrive as a leader. As with all choices in life, it’s advisable to have your facts checked and not just rely on gut. Unfortunately, in the time of pandemics, your choice is often as good as my guess. Choice is a state of mind. Let me butcher a Casey Neistat quote here: You can be a hater and doubter sipping champagne on the top deck of the Titanic or you can be the fucking iceberg! Choose choice.

I-C-E-B-E-R-G ahead!

 

The 2nd C is CIRCUMSTANCE

The current circumstances have left you with fewer choices than you may want right now. You are in the dangerous middle ground where you can either make a move, choose a direction and be that I-C-E-B-E-R-G or wait out the circumstances and let fate or whatever deity you believe in, make that choice for you. This is not advisable. However, you may find yourself in too deep where Circumstance has already come and gone left you in the firm grasp of our third C, Crisis.

CRISIS

Nothing makes you change faster than crisis. Crisis is not the 4-lettered C word you know, but it certainly feels like that. If you have passed the phase of “why am I here and how did this happen?” and have no real choice to make, you my friend, are in Crisis mode. You have to make a choice, but don’t have any real options on the choice. Sound familiar?

Now, you may swear that you become the best version of yourself under pressure and live in crisis-mode. Were you the kid that always wrote his assignment the day before it was due? Are you always fighting people crisis, client chaos, and cash flow stress? Great but this is different. This is South African Revenue Services coming after you personally; this is a CCMA case, this is not paying suppliers, avoiding calls and getting summoned. This is not Mrs White, your high school English teacher telling you to sit in detention because you never handed in your homework.

The good news is that crises always happen and they always end. It’s how you look at the end that matters now and picking ‘Choice’ may not leave you with cash in the bank, but it will leave you with credibility. It will leave you with loyal staff who see you as a strong leader. It will leave you being a trustworthy partner in whatever you land up doing next.

IQ was the shit in 1980.

EQ was the shit in 2010.

CQ is the shit in 2020.

CQ is your change quotient – Your ability to adapt to your new ever-changing environment.

The Titanic had no CQ.

Be the I-C-E-B-E-R-G!

@Spillly

 

*Special thanks to Mari Lee of Devcom who shared the initial change theory with me

I hope you are quietly freaking out. Lockdown Lessons. Day 1.

By Business Coaching Coaching Motivation Strategy No Comments

[ For the audio version of this blog post, click here]

27 March 2020

Dear You,

I hope you are doing well.

Actually, no, that’s a fucking lie! I hope you are quietly freaking out with uncertainty and a lack of control. Deep down you know that your attitude is wrong. Your goals are wrong and that you should stop with the “just survive” mentality and start thinking about ways to thrive and grow rapidly in this opportune time.

Think big.

Today, there is opportunity everywhere. The money is moving. It’s moving sideways in industries. It’s leapfrogging between industries. There are bargains to be had. You could be buying businesses at 20c on the Rand. You could be partnering with larger businesses that aren’t as cash flush as you. You could be saving your opposition and taking equity. One man’s pain could be your pleasure. Start thinking about it. If someone is in pain, someone will benefit. Go after those people and never stop selling. In times of famine, the gravediggers make money. Become a gravedigger or at the very least, start selling shovels.

Sales.

Today’s sales are easier than ever. I may agree with you that “No one is buying now,” and this may even be true for the next few days BUT access to the C-suite has never been easier. Think about it. Their excuses to see you are less. No one is “going to Cape Town” for a few days. No one is on leave. No one is having full day culture workshops. The CEO is sitting at home with his/her screaming 3 year old and is in the same situation as you. He/she has no 9-5. He/she has no Monday to Friday. He/she is online and available to sales after hours. Before hours. Weekends.

Not only is he/she available for 20 minutes, you can now sell to 20 CEOs at the same time, for 20 minutes. Create thought leadership material and run a webinar. Invite the 20 non-opposing wishlist clients and add value to the network. Sales en-masse. No restrictions. Be smart NOW. Timing is everything.

The office.

Remote working has holes. It’s your call on whether you want an office in future or not. Each has pros and cons. Each has costs and savings. Each requires a different kind of employee. Each requires your existing team to have a different mind-set. Each requires a different type of client. Each requires a different kind of boss. There is no right or wrong – just a future you choose, so choose wisely. No knee jerk reactions required here. While you are in a forced experiment, work out if this is your future and if the rental loss is worth the trade offs.

In remote offices the tech is easy. The culture is hard. The people management is hard. Giving autonomy and not checking bums in seats, is hard. Motivation and inspiration is hard. Always on, is hard. Measuring output and ignoring input is even harder. Not paying rent – easy.

Your team will save time and petrol money in the weeks to come. It’s your job to get them to make other savings in their household right now, too. Your business needs variable overheads, so does your staff.

Clients.

Give your clients space to breathe now. Be empathetic to their circumstances. They are feeling as much pain or more than you are. They may leave you. They may ‘pause’ your services. How you deal with them today will determine if they ever come back to you and if they will ever refer you. Are you building a trust-based relationship with them now? Isn’t that what you want? If they leave you now, just be there in the coming weeks. Pick up the phone and check in. This will serve you well in future.

While they are sitting in their lounges with pictures of their kids hanging on the wall behind them, they have dropped the boardroom attire and pretence. They are human just like you and this is the chance you never had to get close to them- the human.

Products.

You are building a product right now aren’t you? Something “smart” that can be sold online to the masses. You are moving from a niche physical business to a mass online business. Don’t do that. Don’t be silly. You have no idea how that business operates, markets and lives on such small profits. Make what you do today an essential service for tomorrow, like sanitizer- but not so overpriced.

Mind-set.

Stop thinking about today’s loss.

Stop thinking about the week’s loss.

Stop thinking about the month’s losses.

Start thinking about 18-24 months from now.

Who will you be? What will your business do? Will you be relevant? This is all a small blips in your business lifecycle. A deep painful pimple. Don’t squeeze it. Don’t scratch it. Don’t pop it – it will scar. It’s ugly. It’s sore but it will heal in time and you will forget about it.

Best practice:

  1. You would never walk up to a lioness and try prying her new cubs away with your bare hands. Protect your cash like a lioness protects her cubs -GRRROWL!
  2. Chase your debtors like Al Capone. Get paid now and stop being soft.
  3. Get close enough to clients to contract Covid. (Not literally Obvs). You need to know what’s going on in their business before they do. They may be at risk. This puts you at risk. Timeous Information is everything.
  4. Be ruthless with cutting overheads. Overheads may be a euphemism for your people. If they need to go for the greater good – CHOP!
  5. Think about thriving, not surviving. Prosper don’t insulate. Hunt down what you want – GRRROWL!
  6. You are not alone – ask for help. Join a community. Hell! – Build a community.

Kids.

If you have kids that can still be influenced by you – scare the fuck out of them. That’s right! Make this pandemic their World War 2. Hopefully by the time they run for government office or have the vote, they will move the defence budgets to the influenza budget and the war chests to the disease control departments. More people have died of flu since World War 2 than people died in both world wars combined and yet we build guns, not vaccines. By the time I’m an old man, I’m selfishly hoping the next generation use this war and its scars, to build systems and departments that will protect the old people [me] from the Covids of 2050.

It’s a new scary world with no playbook. No rules. This is your chance to write the rules. Write the playbook. Write the future chapters of your career. Innovation and iteration of your product is dead. This is ground zero. It’s time to rejuvenate. It’s time to reincarnate. It’s time to reinvent yourself, your business and your legacy.

GRRROWL.

@Spillly