How Do We Get Unstuck in Business

 

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Mr. Biz Radio: How Do We Get Unstuck in Business


Unedited transcription of the show is included below:

Welcome to Mr. Biz Radio Biz Talk for Biz Owners during the next half hour, Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth, a leading business advisor, and two time bestselling author we'll cover topics. That'll help business owners run their companies more profitably and more efficiently. If you're ready to stop faking the funk and take your business onward and upward, this show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth. Hello there. Welcome to another episode of Mr. Biz Radio.

With me Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth, and we have a treat for you this week. We have a leadership and personal development expert with us, and we're going to talk about, get this one. This is perfect all the time, but especially right now, as we're sort of coming out of this pandemic and, and, you know, transitioning a lot of different things in 2021. And so we're going to talk about a lot of different things, but we're going to specifically focus on how to get more intentional this year. More intentional about everything, about life, about your business, et cetera. So our guest this week is none other than Mr. Anwar Aiken. Anwar, welcome to the show.

Hey, thanks for having me, Mr. Biz. How you doing?

Oh, fantastic. Fantastic. I've been looking forward to having you on the show since I know it's been gosh, probably a couple of months ago when you signed up. So we had a bit of a backlog there, but I've been looking forward to having you on. So why don't we get started with first of all, by the way, I just found this out right before we went live guys. So tell us the story behind your name.

Oh yeah. So my, I was named after Anwar Sadat, the former president of Egypt. My mom was actually when she was in college, she wrote a paper on him was really intrigued about some of his philosophies and how he was trying to be very democratic. And she wanted to give me a very unique name. And so I think in my life I've only met one other person with my name.

Yeah, no, it's super unique. That's what I was intrigued by it when I was asking him about it before we started the show. That's when he mentioned that I'm like, Oh, that's super cool. I wanted to, so I wanted to make sure we got that in. So onward. Tell us why don't we get started with, tell us about your entrepreneurial journey. So, you know, start from as far back as you'd like, but kind of walk us through, you know, your career and leading up to where you're at now. So

As a, as a brief history I've spent 16 years in operations management in the railroad. I recently just left that at the end of last year. And so I started off like most people in the railroad industry out there walking on the rocks, kicking cars. Well, I, we say kicking that actually building trains and running them between new Orleans and Baton Rouge. And that was right after Katrina. When I first started in the railroad industry and this coming March, we'll actually be 20 years in the military between active duty and also national guard and reserves spent a lot of time going to leadership academies and officer's schools and jump school and military police leadership. So I, I've always, I've always found myself in a leadership role. The difference is being a leader in the military versus I guess being a leader in the railroad are very, very different. And a lot of things that I learned in the military despite what some people may think don't necessarily transfer as easily to the civilian side of the house. So for me, a lot of my leadership journey was understanding how to take that knowledge and experience that I, I was gaining in the military and apply it on this in the civilian world in order to be successful.

That's interesting. Well, first of all, thank you for your service to the country. Definitely appreciate that. Okay. And so it's interesting that you mentioned that because I've got family members that are military current military ex military. I've got several friends, same thing, and they've all said that before as well. Echo what you had mentioned, how you know, leadership in the military versus in the civilian world are definitely different. Tell us, I guess, w what, what are some of those differences?

A lot of the difference is, and I want to say this correctly because in the military, if you don't like, or you don't necessarily agree with something, as long as it's not, you know, illegal, immoral or unethical if the person that ranks you, you execute right. Where on when you're in the civilian side, it's different because you have to be able to influence differently. You have to be able to explain and share your ideas get buy-in and understanding from people in order to execute a big vision. It's not that way in the military, you may not understand at all what you're doing. But you you're just told to execute. And so I tell people all the time, you know, if, if you really want to get great at leadership, go volunteer, like go, go, try to get people to do something that you have no leverage over and see how well you do.

I think I, yeah, I think that's a very interesting distinction because you're right. I mean, in the military, like I said, unless it's something, you know, off the wall or illegal, et cetera, they outrank you, you don't have to have a choice. You don't have to understand you don't, you don't need to get to ask questions. You just have to do what they say. Whereas, you know, like you said, in the civilian world, it's, it's much different and you, you have to really apply those. You can't just use your rank all the time to do that. And I guess, you know, some people do. But honestly, I don't think those people are generally effective leaders, at least not in the, because they're using it, you know, they're kind of getting their way by force or whatever, and not really, you know, not really leading, it's more like a dictatorship. And I think that's a short term your long run, you're not gonna be successful, you know having leadership in that way.

You're absolutely right. You won't have it. And I remember when I first got into railroad management I still had a lot of my military doctrine, you know, it was, was my leadership base. And so I remember I told somebody, I was like, Hey, I need you to do this. And they were like, okay, well, why, well, because I told you to do it. Yeah. But, but, but like, why are we doing it? That makes sense. Look, this is what I told you to do, go do it. And we kind of got into a little back and forth and I was like, look in, you do it. Or you go home, you don't get paid. Because I had, I had been ingrained with that my way or the highway type of thank you which was taught to some degree in the military.

And you learned it just through observation. Well, on the civilian side, you know, that didn't work. He needed an explanation of why he was going out there to do something. Now understand I had been railroading at the time for probably two and a half years. And I had got a management opportunity. This gentleman had been railroading for almost 25 years and he knew what I was asking him to do was dumb. And it wasn't going to work six leads what it was like, he knew this is not a good idea. And I'm not going to go out there in this heat in South Mississippi and waste my time, moving these cars around that are going to serve no purpose. Like you don't have to explain this to me. And I wasn't able to do it. And that was, that was the biggest lesson that I learned is how to communicate effectively and rely on the knowledge and experience of other people like being a leader doesn't mean you have to have all the answers and be the smartest person. You have to be able to tap in all of the resources around you to make great decisions for the overall theme.

Yeah, no, I think that's a, I'm sure that's a, been a super valuable lesson to have learned the hard way there initially. But you, you very quickly got the distinction between, you know, as you mentioned, military and civilian leadership. So that's, it's interesting. So we're talking this week again with Anwar Aiken.

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So we're going to hit a break here. We're going to come back. We're going to have to talk to Anwar a little bit more about what he does in the second segment, and you can find out more at www.anwaraiken.com.

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All right. Welcome back to the show and it's time for the Mr. Biz tip of the week. And this one came to me literally, as I was sitting, watching the sunset. There's a, there's a Lake, a really large Lake close to our house. And I was sitting on the dock watching the sunset. And this came to me is that you often don't realize what you can do until someone tells you that you can't think about that one for a second. I'm sure you have examples of this in your life where, you know, someone just told you, you know, there's no way that's a silly idea. You can't do that and just fired you up got that fire in the belly and prompted you to do it. Whereas if someone wouldn't have said that you may have never taken on that task, that challenge and may and accomplish that goal. So interesting one there. So Mr. Biz tip of the week, and again, let's get back into talking with Anwar Aiken. Again, you can find out more at www.anwaraiken.com. You can follow him on Instagram, LinkedIn, Anwar Aiken, and both also on more talk, talk to us a little bit more about how you help business owners.

Sure. so one of the first things that we do is we come in and I say we we, and my team, we come in and we start off usually with a leadership assessment. And, and that's, that's absolutely critical because the reality is no business will grow beyond the leader's capacity to handle it. So before we start diving into the team and working on building the team and the structure, we see where the leader is where they're strong, where they're weak, where they may need a little work. And then we work on developing the leader first. And then from there we look at, okay, what are the strengths and the weaknesses of team? We usually start off with, after the assessment, we do a leadership journey, which is usually a five to six week program, depending on where the leader leader is to help really raise their leadership acumen and to get an honest assessment of where their team is, and then also understand where they want to go.

And then after that, we kind of tailor programs around them. So for the team, we usually do strategy sessions either a full strategy session, which is our business shift program. That's usually done virtually, and then we have a full-blown corporate leadership training. If you say, if you have like 25 or more on your team, okay. And that's, that's probably done on onsite, I would assume. Yes, sir. That is also done on site. And we come in and we offer, and for each one of those, for everybody on your team, we also do a communication assessment because we want every member on the team to understand how they communicate and how their communication is received by everybody else on the team. What we find most of the time is that teams, they lack the success or in reaching the goals is because they're not communicating effectively. It's not because they don't have a good goal or because everybody doesn't know it is because they don't communicate internally effectively enough. They usually assume that they know what the other person is thinking or what they're going to do. And so we clear up those lines of communication and man, you, you would be amazed to see how businesses and teams take off when you do that.

Yeah, I can imagine. Is that, is that typically what you see is why people get stuck?

Absolutely. they, most people get stuck in that, in a sense of, okay. I assume that what I say is understood or received, or that the person knows what to do. A perfect example is I was working with a client and he said, every time I tell one of my guys what I need me to do, he sits there and say, yep, I got it. Yep. I got it. And then he'll leave, he'll go talk to my assistant and be like, okay, what was I supposed to do? And I said, well, I said, here's what we can do every time you have that conversation. And he says, yep, yep. I got it. Did you have to, you then have to dig in and be like, okay, now explain it back to him. What, what do you understand? All right, perfect. Now, what are you going to go do?

Because there's a difference in people's understanding and then their actual execution of that understanding. And it took about, it took about a month, but they man there, they are taking off right now because what he is, is being understood, not just by one person on his team, but by everybody on his team. And when you have that type of synergy it takes a lot of that wasted time out. And if you're a small business owner, if you're an entrepreneur, we understand that time is probably the most valuable thing that we have. Like, we don't have time to waste. We don't have resources to waste. So clearing up your communication so that your team knows what to do when to do it, how to do it is, is, is imperative.

Well, it's, it's, I think that's a great lesson. And I'll tell you Anwar. I, I had to use that with one of our daughters.

It works on kids.

You know, yeah, I got it. I got it. I got it. And then, you know, whatever, there was a task or chore to be done and I come back and I'm like, what the heck is this, this isn't what I asked for. You know, it was like, well, yeah, you said X, Y, and Z. And like, no, you know so, but it, it it's, I think it's, yeah, like you said, it's something that's probably pretty common that breakdown in communication that can happen, you know, on the personal level, within your family, with friends, et cetera. And especially on the, on the business side you know, I would think it's probably more prevalent and you tell me, is it more prevalent with people that are sort of the yes, yes. Man thing.

So it's not really a yes, yes. Ma'am or yes, sir, type of person. I found it on people who they don't want to appear, appear. Like they don't know. It's, it's people who lack the professional humility to say, I don't understand what you're asking me to do. Sometimes you just have to put your pride in your pocket and be like, Hey, I don't get it. And when you can do that, unless you work for somebody who is just an absolute tyrant, they're going to take the time to explain it to you because they want you to be effective because you being more effective takes that those day-to-day tasks off their plate so that they can keep their eye on the big picture. So it's in their best interest to make you as self-sufficient as possible.

Yeah. It makes perfect sense. It makes perfect sense. I'll tell you, I learned a lot of my, my lessons in an odd way Anwar. And that was the very first manager I had. I getting coming out of college was awful, like so much. So I was at a, a major company and I just got super frustrated and I was gonna, I was gonna start looking for another job and I don't like my job, but I just could not stand her. And I remember my uncle thank goodness for my uncle gave me the old pep talk and said, you know, you're at a great company. You've got a great, great career ahead of yourself. You can't let one person, you know, do this. And he said, you know, you got to make lemonade out of lemons. And so he said, here's what you do. You learn from her. And what you learned from her is not to treat people how not to be a leader. And as odd as it sounded at the time, I'm thinking, what the heck is he talking about, man, I tell you it was perfect because when I became a leader and was first managing people and then leader of large teams and everything, honestly, I thought back to like, you know, how would she handle it? Because I'll do it the opposite way.

Yeah, absolutely. And that's a valuable lesson. And you know, I sit here and I think about something that I heard, John Maxwell say, he said that people quit people, don't quit companies. They quit people. And, and how you, how you treat people. And it says a lot about you, right? Are people happier when you show up or when you leave, it says a lot about who you are as a person. And so, but I'm going to add, you have to have somebody in your corner who can tell you, Hey, learn something from this. Like don't, don't run away from it because a lot of times when we do, we run away from those types of challenges or adversity, and we don't look for the lessons at all.

Yeah, no, that's super valuable lesson. Well, we're going to hit a break and we'll come back and we're going to learn how to be more, get more intentional.

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All right. Welcome back to the show. So let me ask you a question, guys. Are you tired of waiting 60 plus days for some customers to pay invoices? If so, invoice financing through Porter Capital can provide cash flow help in as little as 24 hours to get the working capital you need, when you need it. Visit www.PorterCap.com/MrBiz  to apply for a free quote today. That's www.PorterCap.com/MrBiz.

All right. So I'm sure you guys are, You've already taken copious notes. I'm getting a lot of good golden nuggets here out of Anwar. And again, www.AnwarAiken.com. You can find out more about how they can help you, how they can help your business. But I want to focus on more on this. This last segment we have together is, is helping us, you know, we've got all these distractions, right? 2020 was just a hot mess, generally speaking, and overall a lot of different moving parts, a lot of different things going on, a lot of pivoting going on, adapting, et cetera. And so I think it's a great time to really focus in on getting more intentional. And so I know, I know you have a whole game plan around that, so, so give us some tips on how to get more intentional this year. Okay.

Well, my first tip, if you really want to call it a tip is if you want to be more intentional you have to stop making excuses Mo most people, when it comes to being intentional they just make too many excuses and I get it. It's, it's a lot easier to make the excuses than it is to make the adjustments necessary, to actually be intentional. And you have to, you have to prevent yourself from falling into those little gaps or traps that we can stumble upon. Like I know a lot of people sit around and they're just waiting for the perfect opportunity. Well, there's no such thing as a perfect opportunity. As you know, and I know just being a family man, right? Like your kids are, are going to be there. Your spouse is going to be there.

They're going to be some activities you're going to have to clean the house or do laundry. Like there's always a reason for you not to do something that there's no such thing as perfect timing. You just have to decide and make the time. The other thing I would tell people is to pick one thing. A lot of times we try to focus on so many different things instead of just narrowing down, okay, I'm going to do this one thing first, whatever that is, and then tap it into the necessary resources for that one thing. The next thing I would tell people after stop making excuses is create a budget. Most people, when it comes to being more intentional about developing their knowledge and their skills and the ability, they'll say they want to do it, but if you ask them, okay, what is your personal growth budget for the month?

How much money have you actually set aside every month to devote on your personal growth and development and getting better, people will look at you like what do you, what are you talking about? I don't have a, I don't have a budget. I just, if I, if I see a webinar that I like, then I'll follow it as far as it goes, or as far as I want to spend money, like that's, that's not an actual plan. And then learn to set clear goals. And what do I mean by that? If you said to set a goal, I always give people this equation to determine whether or not they have a good goal. Everything is going to cost you something. Any, any goal that you want to reach is going to cost you something time, energy effort, some sacrifice, vice is your goal stronger or more valuable to you, then the sacrifice or the discomfort that you're going to have to go through to reach it? Because if it's not, you're going to give in to the pain and the discomfort every single time, most of the time we set goals and what do people say? Yeah, I was, I was going to do it, you know, but as I look at it, it really wasn't worth it. No, you didn't set a big enough goal. So when it became uncomfortable, you quit make your make worthy goals that are worth having that are worth following through on and hold yourself more accountable.

You know, honestly. So first of all, let me jump in there because man, tons of great stuff here and I love everything you said, the excuse part, I think is a major thing for a lot of people. I mean, at some point or another, we probably all have been guilty of that one. The narrowing, the focus is really important. And those who are loyal listeners of the show have probably heard me mention this before. But you know, I suffered from this myself in 2019 towards the, like the second half of the year I got. So I was, you know, the typical entrepreneurial mind, right? I'm going in 20 different directions, work on a bunch of different things. I got to the end of the year. And I was sort of doing a self-assessment on, you know, looking at things I got accomplished and what didn't get accomplished, et cetera.

And I got pretty disappointed because I was working my butt off, but I didn't get anything completed. And it was because I didn't have a narrow focus. I literally sat down and wrote everything out. And I was working on 13 different projects the last several months of the year. And I made progress on all 13, but I didn't complete any of them. So it was very unfulfilling and I felt very, I was pretty ticked at myself about it. So, you know, I learned a lesson there and I have to check myself on that because again, as an entrepreneurial brain, I'm, I'm always going, you know, 12 different directions. So I have to make sure that I do that. And the goal setting, I love what you said about that. And a lot of people, I don't, I think don't realize that that, and Grant Cardone talks about this.

He says, you have to set a goal that will make a difference in your life, whatever that if it's not big enough to make a difference, that's when you quit. That's when it's not worth it. Right. You miss, you know, you, you, you have a goal to lose 10 pounds, right? And so you're going to go on a diet and start working out and you want to lose 10 pounds. Well, what's your life gonna look like if you just lose 10 pounds, is it really going to change significantly? Probably not. So you go to the gym a couple of times, you're tired. One night, you don't go, you eat a bunch of cookies, you eat a bunch of stuff you know, whatever. And you know, you lose focus because it's like, well, you envision yourself losing those 10 pounds. And you're like, eh, not really a big deal, but if you really set a big goal, you know, you know that your life is going to change. When you get to that goal, that's going to keep you focused. I love that. You said that. And you know, like I said, it's definitely in congruence with

Grant Cardone said as well. So I, I will say this and I, I'm a, I'm a big proponent of setting goals. I think everyone needs to set goals. I think it's how you set goals. I would, I encourage people, well, let me say, let me say it this way. I don't ask people, what do you want to do? Because that's an easy answer, right? That's kind of a setup instead, ask someone or even ask yourself what must I do. Like we're only in the second month of this year, what must you do to make this an amazing year for yourself, for your family, for somebody else? And answer that question. That's your goal? Like what, what is it that I, I'm more achy right now between now and the end of year? What must I do to make sure that this is a great year? When somebody can answer that question, then they have a goal that's worth going after.

Yeah, no. I said, I think that's super important is, you know, you gotta, it's gotta be a difference maker for you. Yeah, it's gotta be, you know, like I said, big enough to really you, when you envision that being successful, you envision it a changed life, a different life. It's gotta be big enough for that. You know, people have talked about these kinds of things for a long time, but I think a lot of times, you know, for some people that it goes in one ear and out the other and they don't really, it doesn't resonate and they kind of just throw it away. But it's so, so important. I mean of having those big, big goals, you know, you'd rather set a massive goal. And even if you fall short, you know, look what she did, right. As compared to you set a little goal and you accomplish it. And you're like, you know, that example of losing 10 pounds, you go, Oh, great. I lost 10 pounds. Like kind of who cares, you know?

And, and, and you're absolutely right. The other thing I think people need to do is find a mentor. Even if that mentor was a friend I would suggest getting a professional mentor, somebody who's farther longer ahead of you that can really show you what, right. Looks like a lot of times we're moving in the right direction, but we don't see the results immediately because, but you have to remind yourself, this is a journey that I've never been on. So I don't know what it's going to look like. I don't know what to expect. And when success doesn't look like what you thought it was going to look like when you get there, you'll be like, Oh, well I must not be doing it right. No, you are doing it right. You're just at a different stage or, or level of success, but you're still going in the right direction. Yeah,

Yeah, yeah. That's, it's a, those are golden nuggets. I'm sure you guys got a lot out of it, unfortunately, while we are out of time. I really appreciate you coming on the show though. Thank you for having me. Yeah, absolutely. www.AnwarAiken.com. Check him out on Instagram and LinkedIn as well.

Thanks for listening guys. Thanks to our show sponsor. Porter Capital. Have a great week and don't forget as always cash flow is King. 

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