83 episodes

The Focus 53 Podcast in your one-stop shop for all things related to business operations. We focus on the systems, people, and processes needed to run a successful small business. If you’re looking to improve your business and need practical help, this is the show for you. Ryan is a business coach and strategist that has had the privilege of working with companies of all sizes from Microsoft, Sports Illustrated and Time Inc. to hundreds of small businesses in the last 20 years. We focus on Business Operations and helping business owners identify and solve opportunities and roadblocks with the people and processes in their company.

The Focus 53 Podcast: Business Systems, People, & Processes Ryan Ayres: Business Coach and Strategist

    • Business

The Focus 53 Podcast in your one-stop shop for all things related to business operations. We focus on the systems, people, and processes needed to run a successful small business. If you’re looking to improve your business and need practical help, this is the show for you. Ryan is a business coach and strategist that has had the privilege of working with companies of all sizes from Microsoft, Sports Illustrated and Time Inc. to hundreds of small businesses in the last 20 years. We focus on Business Operations and helping business owners identify and solve opportunities and roadblocks with the people and processes in their company.

    F53-083: Put Me In The Rafters | Strive To Be A Champion

    F53-083: Put Me In The Rafters | Strive To Be A Champion

    A few weeks ago, I took my 7-year old son to the Colorado Avalanche game and though we've been there before, this was for a school function so they weren't the best seats in town although frankly, I don't think there are bad seats at an Avalanche game especially if you're a student at a game where you could sit up high and see how things develop. We were up high but it changes your perspective. As we were sitting up there, little Ryan was asking about things in the sky and as I looked up, he pointed to the jerseys in the ceiling and asked these questions:
    What are they doing there? Are they special? How come there are hockey and basketball ones? How come there are some with no names on but say Champions?
    As I sat there and asked those questions, it just dawned on me how significant and how much work went into those banners and what they signify. As a former athlete, I worked my tail off to get my name on the rafters. I don't think there's a kid that played sports that didn't dream about playing on the Super Bowl or on the NBA Championships or winning a home run or getting your name on the rafter. It's all about winning championships.
    So I explained to my son that those were the leaders and champions who were fortunate enough to get their name raised and be recognized because of their hardwork. They were recognized that they were the best of the best.
    My son sat there a little puzzled and further asked what the best of the best means. I didn't have a good 7-year-old-answer to him except for this:
    When you play basketball and there's 20 different teams and you know who the best guys are on that team. Then you take those best guys and stick them on another team and then you take those best guys and you stick them on another team and then you get to the very end where there's nothing left but guys that are the BEST. They're the best of those guys or girls. Those are the ones who get their names on the rafters.
     
    What does it take to get up there?
    Work hard.
    Have fun.
    Do your best.
    I thought about this relating to business and questioned myself if this what I'm doing and the things I go after. Am I working so hard to get to the rafters where I want to be the best?
    I played sports and I fell short of it as a lot of people do too. But it's the journey that matters. And as I questioned that, it became so surreal to me.
    Then my son asked me this question I knew it was coming, "Dad, are you retired and in the rafters like them?" I told him I was on the Hall of Fame in high school although nothing like these guys.
     
    Lessons to be Learned:
    We all aspire to work as hard as we could to get our names in the rafter and to be a champion or to get our team in the rafters and retire. But you won't get there if you don't work like a champion, if you don't have fun, or if you don't lead. You will get close and you will earn legacy status if you do those things even if you don't get into the rafters.
    There's a lot of great people in business and in the sports world that are not in the rafters but still live epic lives.
    Are you working hard to get into the rafters? Or are you just going with the flow and drifting? Are you fulfilling your destiny and using your God-given skills to better yourself and the world, to better your family, to better your life, and to better your circumstances? Are you getting up everyday letting your feet up the ground, getting fired up to be the best you can be?

    Books, People, & Resources:
    I'm researching former professional athletes and how they transition from being an athlete or a new lead athlete into the "real world." I'm interested in hearing about their struggles, their challenges, roadblocks, successes, and everything in between. Sports has always been a big part of my life. I love them. I have a special interest in athletes and specifically the ones that have competed at the highest level

    • 7 min
    F53-082: Stop Making Excuses, Fix Your Excuses & Grow Your Business - Cameron Herold

    F53-082: Stop Making Excuses, Fix Your Excuses & Grow Your Business - Cameron Herold

    My guest today is Cameron Herold, the mastermind behind the exponential growth of hundreds of companies. Cameron built a dynamic consultancy and his current clients include a Big Four wireless carrier and a monarchy. His clients say what they like the most about him is that he isn't a "theory" guy. And this is what I like the most about him as well. He speaks from experience. He's actually done the things he talks about doing.
    He has a reputation for growing businesses and he's the guru behind them in doubling their profit and doubling their revenue in just three years or less.

    Topics We Discuss:
    Major challenges of organizations: Vision & Alignment and Quality level of people
    Cameron's concept of the Vivid Vision: A 5-paged written document that describes your company in vivid detail three years from today
    The challenge to get A players and working hard at getting rid of the wrong people
    Is business difficult?
    Hiring for greatness: Finding people who have done it before + Reference checks
    The power of having a daily accountability partner
    Focusing on the critical few things versus the important many
    Hiring A players: Giving them a better place to work + Core values
    Stop making excuses, fix your excuses!
    Metrics for success: Net promoter score + SWOT Analysis
    Factors for profitability: Employees first, customers second
    How to grow your business from zero to 60: Customer satisfaction
    Balancing systems: Family first, personal stuff second, then work
    The importance of unplugging yourself from work
    Building fun activities and building your business around that
     
    Books, People, & Resources:
    Double Double by Cameron Herold
    The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs by Cameron Herold
    Good to Great by Jim Collins
    The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard
    Endurance by Alfred Lansing
    Toronto Sport and Social Club
     

    • 39 min
    F53-081: Unconscious Bias - Be Careful Not To Desensitize Your Intuition

    F53-081: Unconscious Bias - Be Careful Not To Desensitize Your Intuition

    Today's show is a bit of a rift but this seems appropriate to dive into. The topic is called Unconscious Bias.
    Here are a couple of definitions to set the stage as well as some of the narrative around it before I dive into what my beef is with it.

    Bias versus Intuition
    Bias is defined as an inclination of temperament or outlook, especially a person, and sometimes unreasoned judgment.
    The flip side of it is something I consider one of the most powerful things that business people or anyone for that matter have, which is their intuition. For me, I've found that when I do some of my worst work is when I don't follow my intuition.
    Intuition is defined as the ability to understand something immediately without the need for conscious reason. So it sounds an awful lot like a bias.
    However, a bias is obviously with negative connotation. You look down on something or somebody or have some type of prejudice.
     
    Unconscious Bias
    You may have heard of this term and there is a massive narrative going on with this. I see it extensively in large organizations and on media outlets, especially the Fortune 500 companies I'm in or around.
    With training, communications, meetings, forced training, forced action, and questioning - basically everything you do is some form of unconscious bias.
    It's a question of the people you work with, with their race, gender, sex, nationality, etc., the people you hire and fire - it's all being shaped or molded by this concept of unconscious bias.
     
    A Mask on Discrimination, Stripping Away Intuition
    To me, this is a new mask put on the word, discrimination. (This might make your feathers ruffle a bit) Instead of focusing on the people or the circumstances that are discriminatory, the narrative is that you have to question every decision you make about any person, any situation, any organization and vetted against some sort of bias. Therein lies the problem.
    I believe this strips us away of some of our natural intuition and the biases we have in our life are the things that have built our intuition. Especially for those people that are intuitive (which I consider myself), it strips away your power.
    For example, if you have walked by a house that has type of dog that's ferocious and vicious (pitbull for instance) and it bites you, maybe you'll be scared of dogs. However, if you walk by five houses and this dog is ferocious and vicious and it bites you, you're going to establish an intuition about that type of dog. So when you run across that dog in the future, you will now have this natural thought process about that type of dog. That's normal and natural. That's what you call a defense mechanism. That's what you call experience.
    People that are experienced in the field see things, feel things, hear things, and sense things. That's what makes them awesome at their job. This unconscious bias strips that away. So when you run across another pitbull and you automatically associate it as dangerous, you could be wrong but you could also be right. And you could be right far more times than you are wrong for that one bias that you have.
    This is the challenge in the business world, in corporate America, or in your small business. What does that unconscious bias look like?
     
    It’s About Being Smart
    There is a fine line between a bias that's on the negative side and intuition. Let's face it, this is where people may not agree with but your intuition is not only for good things but also for the bad things. If it's going to be labeled as a bias that your intuition tells you to stay away from a certain person or business profile that's treated you wrong, if those are the things you stay away from because you've learned from them in the past, then I don't consider you a racist or that you're discriminatory. Instead, I consider you smart that you're taking action.
     
    Labeling Based on Perceived Unconsc

    • 14 min
    F53-080: The Power of Mental Performance Coaching - Coach Dayne

    F53-080: The Power of Mental Performance Coaching - Coach Dayne

    Guest Name:
    Coach Dayne
    Guest Intro:
    Today's guest is the distinguished and honorable Coach Dayne. He's a former professional athlete turned mental performance coach. He's focused on elevating our belief, what we're capable of, and achieving and aligning our mindset with those new expectations.
    I've been following Dayne for some time and I love his style. I love his message. He's an athlete and I'm a big fan of athletes being a former athlete myself. I love his "no excuse, no BS" kind of way.
    Topics We Discuss:
    Coach Dayne's background growing up in a family of athletes
    A missing piece in what people or trainers are teaching: Mental performance
    His struggles and how he got into mental performance coaching
    The other side of struggle: Greatness
    Aligning your mentality as an athlete with your business or career
    How to harness your greatness when you keep on making excuses: Going from macro to micro
    The power of visualization: Having a mental picture of what you're working toward
    Goal versus vision: How do you differentiate them?
    The secret sauce: Get committed to your belief!
    Hiring for greatness: Identifying the barriers that are holding you back
    Redefining failure as a success: Failure is your trampoline where you will be launched to new levels.
    Failure isn't just inevitable, it's mandatory.
    Putting yourself in situations where you can fail to train you for greatness
    How do you know you're on the path: An inextinguishable passion
    Coach Dayne's vision of making an impact and how he defines it
    Reshaping your expectations and raising them to insanity
    Monitoring progress: Journal entries and progress report on video
    The power of taking risks: Stop playing it safe!

    Books, People, & Resources:
    Learn more about Coach Dayne on www.coachdayne.com and connect with him.
    Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
    The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu

    • 48 min
    F53-079: Should You Focus on Winning Awards or Getting Certifications

    F53-079: Should You Focus on Winning Awards or Getting Certifications

    Do you have any certificates? OR What awards do you have? OR What certifications do you have in your arsenal of skills?
    Let's break down what this actually means.

    An External Validation
    It's really a validation. They're asking for external validation, which is some form of insurance of who you are or what you are. This is an indication that you haven't served them.
    Over the last 25 years, I've worked for companies like Microsoft, Ford, Dell, Sports Illustrated, and with small businesses (hundreds of them at this point in time). And when someone that you've already worked with ask you for these types of things, you haven't served them initially right out of gate. Or they're looking for some form of "insurance" about who they're talking to. They also use that as a quick way to discard organizations or people they're working with. And they make decisions based on other people's perceptions. So it's an external validation.

    Are you certified? Do you go for awards?
    I'm a lifelong IT person and I've been in all sorts of positions from the very bottom to the very top in an IT organization. Along the way, I've held all sorts of certifications which have got me jobs and have got me in the door. I've learned a lot of "booksmarts" trying to obtain these certifications. Some employers or people really value them. They will love them. And they do sound good.
    I was one of the very first people to get my Microsoft certification back in 1999 and back then, I was a big deal. Nowadays? Who gives a squat? It doesn't really matter in that realm.
    But back then, it was a big deal and I used it to my advantage. I actually had my company pay for me to go to a bootcamp where I spent 13 days just hammering, learning, and taking test to get the certification. And the company tried to pin me into their organization because they paid for this $5,000 bootcamp where I went and got certified. They wanted to make me a prisoner of their organization because they paid for it. I had other job offers because I now had the certification which really meant a lot back then and they were going to pay me a lot more.
    So I basically paid my company their money and for the certifications, I paid for myself and went on. That was a great decision for me. But it's a good example of how the certificate benefited me. It made a lot of sense since I also learned a lot. Plus, I met someone who later turned into my future boss twice that brought me into great organizations.
     
    Do I still pursue certifications and/or awards?
    No.
    As a business owner and an employer, I would actually even put college degrees in this bucket now as well. I really don't care that someone has a certificate in web design to work in my company or care for business coaches that only have to have a business certification from some place. I've worked with some that have certifications who are fantastic but I've also worked with many that don't have certifications and they're just as fantastic. So for me, this is something I don't make decisions on.
    I believe the best employees, producers, companies are the people that are just actually doing great stuff. I want to see real results. I don't care about scholastic achievements or awards. It's not always the best who wins the award. So you have to look no further than our pool of presidential candidates. That doesn't mean they're the best in the country or at anything to run it.
    If you work your butt off, produce great results, and get an award, that's awesome! You should be proud that you did something so powerful that other people noticed. Your goal should always be to win, to be productive, and to serve your customer.

    Getting a certificate or a certification
    This may ruffle a few feathers but this reminds me of the movie, Tommy Boy, about guarantees. I'm not certified in a lot of the things I do but I don't care. I'm not guaranteeing so

    • 12 min
    F53-078: Want To Grow? Find and Fix The Operational Bottlenecks - Philip Cooke

    F53-078: Want To Grow? Find and Fix The Operational Bottlenecks - Philip Cooke

    Guest Name:
    Philip Cooke - Radically Simple Consulting
    Guest Intro:
    My guest today is Philip Cooke whose lifelong passions are process improvement and helping people achieve their deepest passions in life. His engineering firm helps businesses who can't keep up with their demand for their product or service. They streamline their workflow to get more done with what they have.

    Topics We Discuss:
    The challenges and successes Philip commonly sees in organizations
    The impact Philip provides to their clients: Finding the bottleneck is key
    How to tap into people who need help but don't understand the value
    The importance of knowing your pain points
    When to know your operation is growing in an unsustainable way
    Balancing between improving operations and new projects: Getting things ironed out before adding people
    The difference between automation and building a process: Make sure you're NOT automating a broken process!
    Attributes of great leaders: Daily plan + Execution
    Dealing with decisions and tasks performed at a wrong level
    What makes a bottleneck?
    Find the bottleneck and start finding ways to shift around
    Freeing your mind to take things off the plate
    Metrics and monitoring the health of an organization:
    Scoreboards with 2-3 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
    Cycle Time
    First Time Right
    Making sure there's a good market for what you do
    The way to build relationships: Providing VALUE
    The importance of simplifying your operations: Whiteboards + simple systems

    Books, People, & Resources:
    Radically Simple Consulting
    The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann
    The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt
    The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

    • 58 min

Customer Reviews

Nuzzi1 ,

great show!!

I really enjoy this podcast and look forward to hearing much more. Keep up the great work!!!

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