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Thursday, October 29th, 2009

DOS Exercise

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A lot of people have checked out my article  on SWOT Analysis: Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats (amazingly, an estimated 300,000 people Google “SWOT Analysis” each month, according to Google’s own Keyword Tool).

If you want a variation on an exercise for strengths, opportunities, etc., there’s another simpler one called D.O.S.

DOS stands for Dangers, Opportunities and Strengths.

DOS Exercise

It’s very simple to learn DOS. Here are the steps:

1) Pick a new goal or thing that you’re considering taking on.

2) List out the dangers of taking on such a project.

3) List out the opportunities of taking on such a project.

4) List out the strengths of taking on such a project.

I’ve been using DOS for a few years and I’ve learned it’s important you go in the order of danger, opportunity, strength because psychologically it’s best to end on a positive — this is one advantage the DOS model has over the SWOT model (in SWOT analysis you START positive with strengths and END on a negative with threats).

Here’s a DOS example on a new challenge a friend of mine’s business is having with fundraising (she needs to raise some money to fund her new startup).

Dangers (of raising money)

  • She’ll take her eye off the ball of a new product launch.
  • She’ll be distracted from managing her newest hire (an engineer)

Opportunities (e.g. what the opportunities for her to take advantage of to raise money)

  • She has 100+ “friends and family” who might be able to invest
  • She has a new advisor she could add to her advisory board who is well connected and has raised money for a couple of different startups.

Strengths

  • This woman is very persuasive and can make a great pitch!
  • She has a superb team
  • She has an amazing product

That’s the DOS exercise.

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Saturday, June 13th, 2009

How to Write A Purpose Statement

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In late 2007 I was introduced to “Coach Terry,” a phone-based life coach.

I was dubious about the phone-only part but I gave it a shot for a few months and learned a ton.

The most important thing I learned from Terry was the importance of having a statement of purpose for anything substantial in my life (you can find a sample statement of purpose below).

I began writing a statement of purpose for my life, my business, my role in business, a holiday trip, my romantic relationship or even just my plan for a day.

I’ve found it useful to constantly be asking myself what the purpose of something I’m doing is, or when people ask me to do something or say they are doing something, I ask them: “What is the purpose of that?”

Be purposeful about all things in your life…and you’ll find that the outcome is more favorable.

So, here’s how to write a statement of purpose along with some purpose statement tips:

1) List Your Expectations

Write down all the expectations you have about your purpose related to a certain topic (e.g. your life, job, relationship with someone, etc.) on the left-hand side of the page.

Examples of expectations are wants, needs and even fears — for example, if you’re writing a purpose statement about a job you should be answering the following questions:

What do I really want my job to be?

What do I really need in my job?

What fears do I have about my job?

Spend at least 5 to 10 minutes on this part…and really open up!

You should now have at least 7 to 10 expectations — and they will probably be centered around a few topics or themes  (e.g. for a job, it might be to make money, have fun, have a flexible schedule, etc.)

2) Purpose Statement

Now, fresh from writing out those expectations, immediately write down one long sentence that starts with “The purpose of my __________ is to …” and the rest of the statement should flow pretty naturally (hint: if you have any challenge here, take your Expectations and group them into a few topics or themes and use those as your purpose statement).

Writing a purpose statement is that easy!

You now have the beginnings of the purpose statement — you can refine this now or later (if you’re like me, you’ll find that you remember new wants, needs and fears later on — so just add them in and iterate).

3) Bonus Round: WriteI Will” Statements

If you want to take this thing one step further, return to the expectations and to the right of each of them write down an “I will” statement.

The “I will” statement should be something actionable that you could do to be more purposeful.

Try to make each “I will” statement specific, measureable, actionable and timely.

Don’t worry about ever doing such things — this isn’t a to-do list — just write it down!

The act of merely writing them down will make you more mindful of your purpose.

I promise you that if you do this exercise, you will be more purposeful on whatever the topic.

So, now you have a purpose statement (remember, you can refine it all you want) and even some actions that you can take (I sometimes DO treat it like a to-do list by printing it out and doing some of the actions immediately)

Samples of Purpose Statements

Here are some sample purpose statements I’ve written:

Life Purpose Statement — My life purpose is to smile most of the time, develop myself constantly to find my greatness, be productive the vast majority of the time, give plenty to others and to have a positive vibration on the planet.

Purpose Statement For Layoffs I Had To Make — The purpose of our layoffs is to be able to execute the plan on a timely basis, to be respected in the execution and to protect the jobs of productive people

Business Purpose Statement — The purpose of our business is to have fun, help people and make a little money.

Purpose Statement For My Job –  The purpose of my job is to make money, meet only with people I love and respect, work on things I enjoy and provide a flexible schedule to take care of the primary choices in my life. Check out 3 Easy Steps To Write A Purpose Statement For Your Next Job.

Purpose Statement For A New Management Meeting I Had To Start (see my Daily Huddle Article) — The purpose of the daily huddle meeting is to align the management team and to increase the speed of our growth.

Purpose Statement for My Wife — The purpose of the relationship with my life-mate is to have a passionate, healthy and positive relationship — while still enjoying some vices! — that leads to a larger family with children I adore.

I also highly recommend you check out this How To Write A Purpose Statement article by Steve Pavlina.

That lead to the following life purpose statement by Mr. Pavlina: To live consciously and courageously, to resonate with love and compassion, to awaken the great spirits within others, and to leave this world in peace.

Enjoy being purposeful!

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Thursday, April 30th, 2009

How To Mazimize The Number of Valuable People You Meet In Life (The Connector Exercise)

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A number of people ask me how I obtained a large network of contacts (I have 3,000 names in my iPhone).

I took two of my "Connectors" to the Famous Gene and Georgetti's in Chicago

I took two of my "Connectors" to the Famous Gene and Georgetti's in Chicago

Strangely, I’ve never thought of myself as a schmoozer…I’m actually fairly introverted.

But I’ve been very lucky. A few things were in my favor:

  1. Same Career Track — I have followed a fairly narrow career track of technology/media/Internet for 20 years now.
  2. Social Positions — My positions have centered around other people (I was a journalist, a deal-maker, entrepreneur, etc.)
  3. Decently-Organized — I’m a detail-oriented/organized-type of person and so I’ve done an ok job at entering in people’s contact information over those years

So, the 3,000 names isn’t that impressive — it really just came from 20 years times of storing an average of 100+ contacts per year.

That’s just 1 new contact I made (and stored) every 3 days. I’m sure you could do that (unless you’re a monk at a convent in which case you’re probably in the wrong place right now!).

But there is one secret I was reminded of a few years ago that I wished I had implemented earlier on in my career!

It’s only briefly mentioned on page 37 of the soft-cover version of The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.

In a word: “Connectors.”

Here’s an exercise I’d like you to do (should take 15 minutes and be fun):

  1. Get out a blank piece of paper or word processing document.
  2. Make a list of the 40 most valuable people to you with one per line (exclude family).
  3. To the right of each person’s name, write down the name of the person who introduced you to that person (now you have two names on each of your 40 lines).
  4. Now to the right of that second name, write down the name of who introduced you to that person.
  5. If you can’t remember who introduced you to a person (or perhaps you just met at school or work then leave that line alone.
  6. Keep adding a person to the right of the previous person until you feel like you can’t go any further.

Here’s a snippet from my list:

  • Jamie>Chad>
  • Charlie>Ted>Erin
  • Jen>Ted>Erin
  • Lenny>Jen>Ted>Erin
  • Alex>Ted>Erin
  • Zack>Chris> Chad & Ted
  • Bruce>Chad>
  • Todd>Dave
  • Mike>Dave
  • Jacquie>Tracy>Erin
  • Robert>Chad
  • Mary>Dave

Now, you’ll start to notice that just a few people — in my case Chad, Ted, Erin and Dave — are responsible for connecting me to most my friends.

Gladwell calls these people “Connectors.”

I’m a Connector too, though not as good as my Connectors.

So, if you want to to expand your network, here are a few lessons:

  1. Identify the Connectors in Your Life — Find out who they are and add value to their life (so they’ll keep introducing you to others).
  2. Ask Your Connectors Who Their Connectors Are — Connectors are usually very good at having many Connectors themselves.
  3. Try Being a Connector Yourself — Offer to introduce people of value to others who need help!
  4. Leverage LinkedIn — Read why You Must Be Linked In, an article about that amazing networking tool.
  5. Read Tipping Point.

I was inspired enough by this exercise to take Chad & Ted out for a yummy steak dinner at Gene & Georgetti’s in Chicago where I presented each of them with a personalized gift. It was of minimal value compared to the value they have given me through their Connections.

Thanks, Mr. Gladwell and thank you, Connectors!

What do you know about Connectors and Networking? Please comment below.

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