Mar 14 2016




What can the matter be?



Gallup Research says odds are that your

employees may be costing you a

lot more than you think.


How so?


Fewer than a third of employees , says Gallup, are “Actively Engaged” with their work! (Does that furrow your brow?)

And more than half are “Disengaged” from their work! One out of five is, in fact, Actively Disengaged! (Does that make you snort?)

If you think it’s not true, maybe it’s because some of your people are just good actors! (Does that make you applaud as the cash falls from your pockets?)

upsidedown coin shake

But guess what? YOU are the boss. YOU are responsible. You can delegate authority, but you canNOT delegate responsibility.

Bosses who try to “pass the buck” inevitably fail. Bosses, however, who accept full responsibility and who lead by leading instead of by telling, who make genuine ongoing efforts to create a bond with their employees are the ones who help ensure and foster active employee commitment and –in the process– help ensure and foster black ink on their organizations bottom line!

So where do you start?




You start with the decision to start. This is a typically easy and quick step. You either want to be a better leader or you don’t.

Assuming your screen-tapping fingers are still capable of the task, START with a WRITTEN-ON-PAPER-WITH-A-PEN goal of where you’d like to end up, and if your goal statement is ever to work, it MUST be:

Specific       Realistic      Flexible     Due-Dated


If you stick to working through this in any meaningful way and steer clear of attempting shortcuts, this is a typically hard and slow process. But don’t be discouraged, the harder you work at this, the better your odds for success.

Next, review your goal statement at least daily. Sometimes hourly is necessary. Change it as you open new doors, uncover new problems, discover new directions, meet new people, discover new techniques. Remember, a key criteria is flexibility . . . a sudden storm can quickly disrupt a leisurely canoe trip and force a change in direction. Unexpected removal of a roadblock can shorten and speed up a long drive. When you get this far, check out: HOW to make your goals work.




Believe it or not, don’t share your goals with anyone else who doesn’t also have written goals, or who isn’t working with you on a shared goal. Why? Many people are either consciously or unconsciously invested in seeing others around them who strive to succeed, become failures. Doubt this at your own peril.

dog eats homework

Assuming you’ve kept your homework out of the dog’s mouth and actually done what you’ve accepted as necessary, and are getting into the swing of real handwritten-on-paper goals that are flexible, realistic, specific and due-dated, and that you are constantly upgrading them, and carrying them with you all the time and reviewing them as often as you check your wristwatch or smartphone messages, you need to start teaching your people to do the same thing for themselves.

Start them out with a deeeeep breath!

THAT process is a good beginning. But it can only start if YOU start!


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May 27 2015

Driving Entrepreneurs To Pasture

When it’s time to eat grass,


get out of the mud and weeds!


You’ve been bustin’ butt to get where you are, and you can’t even find the tunnel, never mind light at the end of it! That’s the nice way to say you’re feeling spent and discouraged. But the truth is — guess what?– you are CHOOSING to feel spent and discouraged! “Spent” and “discouraged” are behaviors, right? And since all humans are born with free will (although some undoubtedly approach dubiousness), humans (yes, even entrepreneurs) all CHOOSE their behaviors.

So now you think you’re going to get lectured? Don’t choose to think that. Choose instead to enlighten yourself. The choice is just as easy, and it’s light-years  more productive. We make choices every minute of every day — from when to wake up to when to go to sleep, and everything in between. HA! And you thought it was just a matter of eggs or cereal for breakfast . . . or whether to sneer, snort, scowl or smile at someone else who chose to be bitchy.

Nope. No lecture here. Just shared awareness based on being an entrepreneur, and working with 2020 entrepreneurs. The bottom line is that the vast majority of entrepreneurs I’ve experienced haven’t a clue about the right time to make their move out of the weeds and into the sunshine-filled pasture, where healthy grazing beats hanging around in mud and weeds infested with mosquitoes. And I won’t even mention the malaria word here. OMG! So many choices!

So, seriously, where does your business live? When will you choose to move it? Where? How?

Our choices are conscious or unconscious. Sometimes the consequences pop up years later. Goal-setting can spare us a lot of “choice” surprises! Are your goals legitimate? They meet all five essential criteria? They are specific, realistic, flexible, due-dated, and in writing? If they are not all five, you don’t have goals; you have a meaningless, nonproductive wishlist. Why would you choose fantasy when choosing (meaningful, productive) reality is just as easy?

Choosing when and how to get your business out of the mud and weeds is not a matter of betting the farm. Entrepreneurs take only reasonable risks. It is a matter of what I call “Opportunity Vigilance.” When you keep focused on making your idea work and on taking advantage of opportunities that represent growth, you are choosing to put yourself and your business in a position of readiness to head for the sunshine-filled pasture where work becomes fun again.

Unless, of course, you’re a FAKE Entrepreneur?

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Hal@Businessworks.US    931.854.0474

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

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Jan 05 2015

340,666 minutes left in 2015!

Published by under Uncategorized

In 1 week, you’ll have 340,666 minutes left in 2015!

What will you do with


your time this year?


upsidedown clock

 FACT: As of Jan. 10th, you will have already spent 14,400 minutes of this new year that you’ll never get back! QUESTION: On a scale of 1-10 (10=best), how would you rate your 2015 accomplishments so far?  ONE MORE QUESTION: What will you do with the remaining 340,666 minutes (511,000 minutes minus 1/3 for sleep) in 2015?



Can the last question really be answered? Of course not. How could you possibly know what situations and circumstances will impact your intentions? So maybe intentions are not such a great thing. We’ve heard, after all, that they pave the road to hell, hmmm. And they’re kind of like expectations, right? And expectations breed disappointment, yes?

So where does all this quibbling over semantics actually leave us? Hopefully . . . (aw, wait a minute, isn’t “hopefully” like an intention and expectation combined?). Well then, is this an end to planning as we know it? Do we throw the goals out with the posts? (A little pun there for football fans.) Do we stop having objectives to pursue?

Planning is essential, but it is not a trigger for compulsive pursuit at all costs. Why is this important to consider NOW? Because:

Entrepreneurs are business junkies.

 How do we know that strict, rigid planning fails? Because planning (i.e, goal setting) has been long proven to be successful only if the process of goal setting adheres firmly to specific criteria, and one of these is flexibility. The less flexible, the more stress. The more stress the greater the odds for failure.

There is something to be said for the thrust and direction of many, if not most, entrepreneurially-spirited engines . . . something that is most succinctly put as “living for the moment.” Entrepreneurs instinctively seek immediate gratification and are more focused on the “here and now” present moment than those in other careers.

It’s that old thing grandpa used to say about not putting off ’til tomorrow what you can do today. Entrepreneurs have a powerful need for a quick fix when things start to flounder or deteriorate, or when last week’s “high” begins to wear off. Sound familiar? It’s true.  Look around. Ask around.

Small business owners and operators have mostly learned the hard way –through trial and error and intuitive “street smarts”– that ongoing quick-fix actions are the only ones that get results, and keep businesses moving forward when the tide is changing or the current is a backwash.

But swimming upstream for any period of time can be exhausting to say the least, so the idea of taking immediate corrective/adjustment action needs, in reality, to be tapered only with the commitment to take only reasonable risks in the process, and to always imagine the worst case scenario before proceeding.

Try repetitively asking yourself the following question all during any crisis or critical period, hourly if need be:


“Is what I’m doing right this very minute

leading me to where I want to go?”


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Hal@Businessworks.US     931.854.0474

Open Minds Open Doors

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Aug 12 2013




 It’s entrepreneurial leadership, not the goal!


Losers lack it. Winners exude it. Ask the successful people you know. They will tell you that the most sensible route to organizational success is one that engages and focuses on the passionate pursuit of “here and now” present-moment thinking, instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. VOILA! “Entrepreneurial Leadership.”

Do you sometimes wonder what Barnes & Noble is thinking on it’s way to the Borders graveyard by insisting on following an archaic business model that is completely out of touch with today’s technology and marketplace? Do you wonder why the Post Office’s solution to high expenses is to close on Saturdays, lay off employees and pull in pick-up boxes off the sidewalks?

And why does a nonprofit charity mail out fundraiser letters with “2013 Supporter” car magnets that literally fade to invisibility after a day in the sun? What makes the rampant “GOTCHA” greed of so many cable TV, insurance and telephone service providers completely override the wishes and best interests of the customers they serve?

The answer to these –and any other examples you may be prompted to think about– is the same. It is wrapped around societal acceptance of the need to pursue “the end result” at all costs. It is mired deep in the thinking that popularizes “analysis paralysis” as a characterization. It is the antithesis of innovation, and of entrepreneurial thinking and leadership.

“But winning is the American way!,” you may say. Indeed it is. But just because it’s the most desirable mantra for sports and military performances, doesn’t mean it’s the right way for business or life. If anything, it’s probably as far off base as any guideline could be. No business or life flourishes when it is completely devoted to reaching the goal line. None.

Think about it. When you’re running a race and concentrating on the finish line, you stop paying attention to what’s happening at the present moment right in front of you, right under your feet, and -SMASH!- you trip and fall on your face.  Competitors of course will hop over and around you. Winners pay attention to each step AS they take each step.

Entrepreneurial leaders nurture and thrive on the present moment. Something doesn’t work? They don’t analyze the malfunction to death. They simply adjust it and keep moving forward, and adjust it again and again in the process of constantly moving forward (vs. analyzing instant and slow motion replays again and again and going nowhere)!

Entrepreneurial leaders don’t worry about goals. They have goals, but they simply pursue them by staying tuned in to where they are, each step of the way. Like any malfunction, if the goal isn’t being reached as planned or hoped for, they adjust it. Inflexible or unrealistic, or nonspecific goals are as totally meaningless as wishes.

It’s HOW you do what you do each day that determines success. HOW do you handle staying on top of the process and the interactions? Isn’t that hard? Of course it is. The challenge is to be forever on the alert to opportunities, and that’s impossible for those who are thinking or worrying too much about where they’re headed, and for those lost in the clouds of constantly re-hashing where things have been.

Successful entrepreneurial leaders are also HAPPY leaders because they function as much of the time as possible in the present, here-and-now moment. And, like success, happiness is also “The Journey”! Do you make an effort to function each day in the here-and-now present moment as much as possible? Try it. You’ll like it.


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Jun 28 2013


So, you think you know


who you are, huh? Really?


Entrepreneurial Leaders are responsive (instead of reactive). They take reasonable risks (which means they don’t bet the farm, or even buy lottery tickets!). They are goal-driven, but focus more on the steps to reach the goal. When something doesn’t work, they make adjustments and try again (vs. corporate/government thinking that produces analysis paralysis!)

Guess what the number one ingredient is in entrepreneurial leadership — any kind, any level (from running a company to running a work crew or department, to running a family or sports team)? It’s knowing yourself. Your SELF. Because unless you know what makes YOU tick, you can never know what makes others tick.

When you don’t know what makes others tick, you’ll never be able to communicate clearly with them . . . because they do NOT think like you think even if you think they do. They don’t. You are unique. No one else has your brain. No one else can reach inside your brain and control it because every one of your behaviors is your choice!

So, are you still with me? If that little bit of awareness is true for you, it is equally true for each person who follows you. To be truly effective as an entrepreneurial leader (as opposed to a robotic leader!), doesn’t mean you have to be a shrink. It means you have to accept that everyone does not think like you, and you need to do your best to figure out what makes them tick.

Just because you may think you’ve “been around the block a few times,” that you’ve “been there, done that and got the t-shirt” doesn’t mean you can dismiss the need to keep learning about yourself and others because these are different times. What worked for you before is not likely to work again for you without some kind of adjustment.

The place to start adjusting, then, is with how, when, and where you absorb new information. Just as you and your life are constantly changing (even, and usually, when you least expect it or are aware of it), so too are the lives of those who look to you for guidance. I’m not suggesting you become a Google-aholic psych student. Just keep yourself alert. Observe. Listen.

Keeping up with all of that is challenging. But isn’t that why you took the job or accepted the responsibility in the first place?

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Dec 27 2011

The BEST 10 STEPS for 2012

The best New Year’s


 message I can share


  with you comes…


 . . . from one of my life’s heroes, Dr. Wayne Dyer.


It’s a 10-Point Pursuit Plan that I’ve dressed up a bit for the occasion, for your business, for your SELF, and to share with your family. If you succeed at making only HALF of these actually work consistently, I GUARANTEE that this coming year will be as happy, healthy and prosperous for you as humanly possible.


DO YOUR SELF, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR BUSINESS A FAVOR and read these ten points aloud to yourself. Write them down. Carry them in your wallet/pocketbook/briefcase. Tape a copy to your bathroom mirror, your dashboard, your computer workstation, inside your desk drawer, your workout bag, your refridgerator, the closet bar that holds your hangers.

READ AND RECITE before you go to bed, when you wake up, and any other time you can squeeze it into your day. You will positively amaze yourself with the results after just 21 days, and it’s FREE!! Go for it!

1. Want more for others than you do for yourself.

2. See yourself already having what you seek.

3. Be an appreciator of everything in your life as much as you can throughout each day, every day.

4. Stay in touch with your own and other positive human energy sources, and laugh as hard and often as you can.

5. Understand resistence, and help yourself and others to go with the flow.

6. Imagine yourself surrounded by the conditions you want to produce.

7. Understand the path of least resistence.

8. Practice radical humility.

9. Be in a constant state of gratitude.

10. You can never resolve a problem by condemning it.


If you think you’re going to give up on this, don’t start it. A little bite will only leave a bad taste.

BUT if you think you have what it takes to get your act together and take it on the road, if you think you have enough self-discipline to follow and practice the behaviors these 10 points suggest, you will positively succeed — even against all odds. Remember these 10 points are all about behavior. Behavior is a choice!


More FREE insights on


Come visit me at TBD Consulting’s Jonena Relth’s site and comment on my Guest Blog posts:



and  “T” IS FOR TRUST.  


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Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Dec 18 2011

Christmas Carol Business Message

What’s YOUR nomination for a best business Christmas message? 

“…To face unafraid


the plans that we made…”

(From Winter Wonderland


Endless studies show people are more afraid of public speaking than of death, so it would seem to follow that most people refuse to set goals for themselves and their businesses because they are afraid of failure to achieve what they decide to pursue. I mean that makes sense, doesn’t it? Fear of failure is part of life, right?

Well, there are all kinds of answers to that hypothesis. Fear is a behavior and all behavior is a choice, so fear is a choice . . . why choose to be afraid? Having no goals (especially if you own or run a business) is like being captain of a ship that has no rudder — another example of what seems to me to be a curious choice.

Did you know that when you decide to tell someone else (who doesn’t set goals) about your goals that you open yourself to such criticism and undermining that you stand to actually end up taking steps backward instead of forward?

Did you remember that effective goal-setting requires strict adherence to a simple set of criteria? A goal that’s realistic (to separate it from frivilous pursuit of wishes, hopes, and fantasyland) must be, in fact, realistic. It must also be specific, and due-dated. be clearly written down and carried with you, and –aha!– be flexible!

If you set a goal that looks like it’s not going to happen as you get to the the due date, be flexible: change the due date. Or change the expected payoff, or the dimensions or parameters of the goal. Flexibility means it’s okay to change the goal and the direction or the planned result. Y0u will not be a failure unless you choose to be. 

Writing your goals down and carrying them with you forces your brain to buy intro them. It’s not unlike checking your wallet before you go someplace special to make sure you can cover anticipated expenses, or at least to simply take inventory. It’s a self-discipline behavior that keeps you focused on what you will achieve.

By keeping yourself focused on your specific, realistic, flexible, due-dated pursuits, you increase the odds for success dramatically, and the avenues you take will be more compatible with what you seek to achieve. In addition, your focus will attract endless resources to help you get where you’re going — people, events, information, money.  

Face unafraid the plans that you made . . .


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Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Nov 30 2011

In Debt? Who’s Not? So What?

When business ownership feels claustrophobic…

Debt? Get Used To It!




       [Source: 11/17/11]                          

  • Three weeks ago, the U.S. Treasury Dept. reported that the federal government’s debt had exceeded $15 Trillion for the first time in the history of America, hitting $15,033,607,255,920.32 and safe to assume that it’s higher yet as of today.

  •  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just estimated that there were 93,641,000 full-time private sector workers in America in 2010 (and 18,073,000 full-time workers in federal, state, and local government.

  • That means the $15.0336 Trillion federal debt equals approximately $160,545 per full-time private sector worker.

  • Given that the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there were approximately 76,089,045 families in America in 2010, the federal debt equals approximately $197,579 for each and every American family. 


Besides your vote on November 6, 2012, is there no escape? Well, you could close up shop, grab your piggy bank, and head for some remote island, getting sunburn and mosquito bites and drinking piña coladas and coco locos until you can’t walk or talk — not to mention that there’s just so much coconut milk your system can take!

OR, you could –what did Grandpa used to say?– buckle up, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, put your shoulder to the wheel and your nose to the grindstone! Not a pretty picture. 

You COULD simply make productive use of this traditionally slow business time (unless you’re in retailing, in which case you’re not taking time to read anything right now, least of all a blog post) by doing a little introspection and a quick reassessment of your year-end and new-year goals. Are your goals ALL 6 OF THESE? . . .

Realistic? Specific?

Flexible? Due-Dated?

Written on paper?

In your pocket?


If your goals don’t meet ALL of these criteria, they are the stuff of wishlists and fantasyland. Don’t kid yourself into thinking they’ll work if you skip a couple. But if you follow all six, and keep adjusting them as you go (Flexible, remember?), you will have insured yourself of the best possible outcome. Why settle for less? It’s a choice.

What’s the single most important thing you learned about your SELF in 2011? What’s the single most important thing you learned about your BUSINESS in 2011? How can you combine these two revelations to do a better job of protecting your self and your business in 2012? Roadblocks? What? Detours? Where? Solutions?

Why all the hoopla on goals? Because we’re all in debt up to our ears and there are no miracle prospects on the horizon, so the best solution is to take what you have and work your butt off to make it better, to make it work in spite of what union/government/corporate giant muckity-mucks do or don’t do. It’s all about YOU.

With 30 million small businesses in America, and you as part of that universe, there is untold opportunity for moving forward as a free spirit entrepreneur, and there is untold opportunity for moving forward by working in concert with other like-minded small businesses. Call it collaboration, strategic alliance, whatever works.

In the end, Business Works. Does yours?


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Hal@Businessworks.US  302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Nov 16 2011


Welcome to the world’s first SMALL BIZ Alphabet Series of blog posts!



WISHING may make it so in Peter Pan or The Wizard of Oz, but it’s a death knell in small business. Like hoping and dreaming, wishing accomplishes nothing. As entrepreneurs, the sooner we face reality and anchor ourselves in the present here-and-now moment for as many passing moments of every day as we possibly can, the sooner we will achieve success.



No need to take my word for this sweeping rhetoric. It’s been proven endlessly over the ages by every successful, big-name entrepreneur who ever lived — from Thomas Edison, Henry Ford,  and Dale Carnegie, to Bill Gates, Steven Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, and Mary Kay Ashe.

So if this is such common knowledge, why doesn’t every entrepreneur succeed? Part of the answer is in the title of this blog post. We are taught from childhood to wish upon a star, that if we find a container on the beach and rub it, a genie will appear and grant three wishes, and so on.

Why do I bring this to our attention now, as we reach the end of the alphabet? Because besides that tonight, we landed on “W,” we are also on the cusp of the greatest annual “wishfest” in American history.

The whole thing starts the day after Thanksgiving and typically continues until Christmas when the dried out and “wishable” Thanksgiving turkey wishbone is ready to be or has already been snapped, and is likely to be replaced by a fresh new Christmas turkey wishbone.

Besides every greeting card filled with best holiday wishes, the season itself brings with it even more wishing as we see lottery ticket sales zoom and letters to Santa abound with children’s wishlists. And then, there’s New Year’s resolutions and wishes… success, success, success!

We certainly have ample opportunities for legitimatized, formal, and official wishing, but… alas!… WE are entrepreneurs, and we know far better than any corporate counterparts or government flunkies that wishing is a colossal waste of time and energy… not praying, mind you, but wishes! We all need all the prayer we can muster.

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have goals. In fact, if we are truly to succeed, goal-setting needs to be an essential and ongoing activity. And real goals –as opposed to fantasized missions– must adhere to four essential criteria, or they are not real goals, and not likely even achievable.

Ongoing? Yes, since –as you may have just discovered by clicking on the last word link above– one of the four essential goal-setting criteria is flexibility, the idea of ongoing goal-setting should be apparent. They need to be adjusted, re-adjusted, and upgraded to reflect the following truism:

Time and events cause changes in

  purpose, passion, and resources.

(Aspiring political candidates should also take note!)


Do you write down your goals and write down your revised and upgraded goals and carry a copy of the latest version on your person every day? Do you go to sleep and wake up with them in your face every day? Do you keep them private except from others who:

  • You trust
  • You know have their own goals
  • You know will provide you with positive, reinforcing, encouragement on your pursuits

Stop wishing and start taking positive steps to make things happen. Begin in reality with written goals.

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Feb 14 2011

Mind Your Own Business!

Failure to achieve


can often be traced to


one’s own big mouth.



What’s the old German expression? “Vee ist too soon alt und too late schmart!” (…or something like that). Well, combine that truth with the tendency most of us have to shoot off our mouths about what we expect to achieve —often before we even get started— and what have we got? A situation in which we are too late being smart enough to realize we should have kept our goals to ourselves.

Other than a genuinely-shared pact with your soul mate or trusted long-term business partner, it’s just not ever a good idea to tell anyone else about what it is that you’re aiming to achieve. Others are not in your shoes and do not have the same energy or confidence levels. You, after all, own or operate or run or manage or partner in a business. You’re an entrepreneur.

Many others (including some close to you) may –for down-deep-inside resentment– simply not want you to succeed, and will discourage and undermine your efforts. For whatever their reasons, don’t allow those confrontations to occur. Keep your goals secret.

Perhaps you believe you have personal and or business “goals” in mind. I would respectfully suggest that the odds may not be very great that these pursuits are worthwhile. The truth is that all of history has proven goals are only worthy of pursuit to start with if they meet all five of the following criteria:


  • Specific

  • Flexible

  • Realistic

  • Due-Dated

  • In Writing

If what you’ve been thinking are meaningful personal or business goals, and they don’t measure up to solidly meeting five out of five of these requirements, they are not goals. They are wishes. Wishes are what people who wrap their lives around “hope” end up with. Wishing and hoping are the empty promises that empty people make to themselves and others. “Fantasizing” isn’t “taking action”!

Not only are each of us at the doorstep of success when we choose to quietly set and work toward goals that are specific, flexible, realistic, and due-dated, we can also measure the sincerity of others’ intents by applying these criteria to what we see them attempting to do with the major life tasks that face them. And from that kind of assessment, we can often determine another’s integrity.

Say, for example, a customer tilts his head, shrugs, faces his palms to the sky and says, “Sorry we’re taking our business elsewhere; it’s strictly a money decision; nothing personal; your prices are just too high for us; we can pay offshore operations half of your costs for the same results!”

This is a knee-jerk, marketplace-ignited decision. Otherwise, you’d be hearing about quality and service and deadlines and willingness to work out payment terms and exact shipments involved. A customer who simply up and leaves with an armful of flimsy excuses was probably never a good customer in the first place, right?.

Replace him with one that demonstrates by her attitude and conduct and the choices she makes that she is working with goals. You don’t need to know another’s goals or share yours. But when you look below the surface of smiles and handshakes and illusionist promotions, you’ll see that those who set and function with goals behave in certain committed ways. You know the difference.

These are the business and professional people

to choose to associate with.

They make the best customers and partners and investors and employees because relationships start from a position of honorability and support for one another in traveling on the high road. More quality work gets done more often, and besides moving in more profitable directions, it’s also more fun.

# # #


“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!”   [Thomas Jefferson]

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Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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