jen spencer coaches

Your Game Plan

After having this conversation about 100 times this year, I thought I would ask you:

How much time do you spend thinking about the future, your vision, and the plan that will help you get where you want to go?

Chances are, not enough. Because life happens.

Maybe you were going to hunker down and do some big thinking on a recent flight, but you got sucked into cleaning out your inbox instead. Or maybe you decided to catch a little shut eye since it was your first chance to sleep in 24 hours.

Maybe you were going to do it after your big new business pitch, but you decided you to go out for drinks with the team and hang out with your family, who forgot what you looked like this last month.

A consistent theme in my work with creative executives is making the time to be visionary and strategic – for your own careers. We flex those thinking muscles on our clients so much more than we do for our selves.
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02 07 12, 10:42 am
Filed under: Business Related, Growth + Development | Tags:

A few weeks ago, I caught up with one of my favorite executives. I’m always inspired by how he leads his team. He’s clear, hires smart people, and (this is the clincher) he actively develops them on a monthly basis.

That’s right. Every integral person to his team goes out with him once a month to do a few things:

> Take it out of the office. Personal can be quite relevant to getting the professional work done.
> Get feedback about the department and other employee dynamics and politics.
> Helps them manage their goals, career path, and accomplishments.

The last one really stood out to me last week. As Seth Godin shares, your accomplishments and resume are symbiotic, but they are not the same thing.

Accomplishments may further a career, but more importantly, they bring a sense of satisfaction, completion, and pride. Everyone needs all three of things to feel engaged and alive about their work.

How do you make sure that your people are keeping track of their accomplishments? How do you keep track of yours?

We are not robots.
10 04 11, 10:45 am
Filed under: Business Related, Growth + Development, Resources

When companies grow, it’s a natural reaction to scale and systemize processes to bring consistent service, prevent potential damaging scenarios and to be able to manage how the business runs.

Systemizing can impede the human factor.

Systems are meant to streamline processes. But they don’t remove the need for the human factor.

Humans are not robots. They are talent.

Our input makes a difference, especially, when you are dealing with exceptions.

So hire smart humans. Identify the purpose of your work. Empower them to understand where they can make a difference. And, then let them do their jobs.


managing talent
09 29 11, 11:03 am
Filed under: Business Related, How-To's

Talent is precious.  And as we move from a manufacturing model to a creativity model, it’s never been more apparent that our ideas are the equity of our future. And creative talent is essential to make those ideas come to life.

Think of talent as your human capital.  You can’t afford to hire the wrong talent and you can’t hope that uninspired talent will perform effectively.

Similar to plant life, different talent has different needs. While some plants thrive on direct light and lots of water, others will die under the same conditions.

So how do you manage your green house of ever-changing talent? What do you do to stay tapped into what your talent needs to grow and perform?
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Performance Reviews for the Solopreneur (Part 2)
09 09 11, 2:10 pm
Filed under: Business Related, Resources

Assessing Your Performance

You are your business.

As solopreneurs, your biggest strengths and weaknesses are highlighted and amplified through your businesses.

The most incredible part of your business?  Everything that happens is dictated by and catalyzed through you. Did I also mention this can be the most overwhelming part, too?

It’s important to be able to recognize where are you making the most difference in your business and where are you holding your business back.  And while I have never met a solopreneur who wasn’t analyzing their business and gauging next steps, they are often caught in the cycle of working “in” the business versus finding time to work “on” it.
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Top Tips for Performance Reviews
09 07 11, 10:00 am
Filed under: Business Related, Resources

Most people know what they do and don’t do well.  And, those that aren’t aware, deserve to be educated.  Here are some top tips on how to give clear, useful performance reviews that will help develop your employee(s).

1.  Have your employee fill out their own evaluation as their manager is getting a full 360 degree view (in some cases this may be you).
2.  Get a FULL 360 degree view (boss, peers, direct reports)
3.  Compare the 360 with their self-assessment.  Marry the results.
4.  Give employee the results.
5.  Meet with employee a week later to help them create a plan of action to leverage strengths, and improve on weaknesses.
6.  Manager and employee check in each quarter to see where the employee is in relationship to their plan.  Manager coaches as need be.

If you have used other proven methods you’d like to recommend?  Please share!

Are you a Solopreneur?  While you may not have employees, you have relationships with vendors and partnerships that help you fulfill your brand and work.  Here are some recommends for how to fulfill this with your vendor relationships, so the cogs can be removed while the valuable relationships can continue to grow and evolve.

Performance Reviews for the Solopreneur (Part 1): Assessing Your Vendors/Alliances/Partnerships

Performance Reviews for the Solopreneur (Part 1)
09 07 11, 9:52 am
Filed under: Business Related, Resources

Assessing Your Vendors/Alliances/Partnerships

As a solopreneur, you may not have employees, but successful solopreneurs have partnerships and alliances that help them get their business done… well.

Similar to employee performance reviews, I recommend a partnership review at least once a year to keep the relationship growing and evolving.  Here’s how it might look…

  1. Identify the vendors you use regularly to get things done.  Some ideas: designers, assistants (virtual or real life), copywriters, bookkeepers, printers, etc.)
  2. List out the top 3 based on volume, their value, their potential impact on your business.
  3. Think through each relationship.  Are you happy with the work they produce and results they create for you?  What works beautifully?  What needs some adjustment?
    Some ideas:  communication, timing + deadlines, quality of the work, metrix, costs, etc.
  4. At this point, you can make the decision to end a relationship and find some new partners in that domain OR move on to number 5.
  5. Find a time to connect in-person with your top pics.  I encourage giving people a heads up that you are looking at ways to be more effective and productive as partners prior to your meeting.  Let them know that you want their input in that conversation.  You might want to help them prepare by giving them a few questions to think about (e.g. what’s working well, what could work better, any other information about growth and/or operational changes that might effect how you work together).
  6. Meet.  Share the love.  Share constructive insights.  Solidify your relationship.

Additional Posts to Check out:
Vendor Love
Relationships vs Transactions

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