Archive for January, 2009

January 27, 2009

Coaching Tip – Getting the full picture

There is an old saying that a picture paints 1,000 words. When clients, colleagues, partners or staff paint you a picture it pays to listen very carefully as they are presenting you the opportunity to understand, predict and influence their behavior. The picture they paint will often come in the form of a metaphor.


Metaphors are stimulated by the imagination and reflect a lot about the person’s thoughts, beliefs and feelings in just a few words. The exciting thing about recognizing and responding to metaphors is that you can understand then motivate change with similarly few words. You first listen for the metaphor and you respond to what is being said using this same metaphor.


Let’s look at an example of how this may be applied. You are talking to someone who is facing a challenge when they say to you; ‘It’s a tough situation, I feel like I have been dealt a pretty ordinary hand’. You recognize the metaphor and respond by saying; “Good card players can win, even with an ordinary hand”.  


In a few words, you have made a huge difference for this person. You have opened up the canvas, to use another metaphor, and they will most likely see a range of possibilities where before they saw none.


Thoughts, feelings and beliefs are powerful in terms of their effect on our behavior. Language is the exciting medium through which you get to influence these thoughts, feelings and beliefs, and therefore the resulting behavior.

January 17, 2009

Top seven reasons smart business owners have an organizational chart

As a small business coach, I have most certainly heard every conceivable argument against having an organizational chart, from “we are a team here” to “organizational charts are all about power and control” and everything in between.  What about why you should have one? As a small business, it is a good idea to have a future organizational chart as well as current one. Yes, even if you only have a few employees. Here is why:


1.      Creating an organizational chart usually leads to better role descriptions and ease of accountability. An organizational chart diminishes ambiguity around who is accountable for what.

2.      You will have a hiring strategy versus waiting till you have to have someone.

3.      When people know what they are accountable for and to whom, they are empowered to be responsible for their part. 

4.      When people can see what future roles will be available they can see a future in the business and will less likely feel like they are in a dead end job.

5.      Employees will have a gap between their current skill set and the one needed to fill future roles.

6.      Clear job roles and lines of accountability increase the chance of appropriate communication to someone who can make a difference with issues.

7.      You can strategically design an organization that allows you some freedom and even better, your employees can see your vision.



Sound good? So, where do you start? Begin with the end in mind or at least a few years down the road.


Close your eyes and imagine that its _____ (fill in the year). You and your team have built a great business. This business allows you to take time away and provides you with a fabulous income.  You are no longer the bottleneck of the business; day-to-day activities are done without you. You only hold a few key roles accountable.


 Now, ask yourself what revenue are you on track for?  


What roles will be full time in 20_ _ (three years from now)?

What roles will you have let go of by then?

What roles will have to be split up?

Who are your key reports?

What roles would be better off outsourced?

How will you measure the success of each role?

What is each role accountable for?


Using a blank sheet of paper (or go to Microsoft Word) and the title cheat sheet at end of these instructions, start with your projected revenue in 3 years. Based on that level of production, utilizing what you know about operating costs and salaries currently, what roles are needed and wanted? Draw them on the paper or add boxes in the word document. You are obviously guessing a bit and that is okay. This can be tweaked as you think things through and grow your business. 


Avoid the following:

·        Names of people (just put the role down).

·        Having more than three key reports.

·        Having one person in charge of everyone.

·        Overstating the job title, the job title should be appropriate to the job level and scope of work.

·        Adding more people than the business can afford.  


Now that you have a three-year chart …back into two years and then create the 2- year chart and the one year chart.


This is not a one-time exercise, it should be revisited at a minimum annually to tweak and revise as you grow your business.


See sample org charts and job titles provided. For more on organizational strategy visit our podcast to listen to our strategic planning course.


Alicia Marie Fruin

Business Owner, Coach, Trainer


January 12, 2009

Entrepreneur Group Coaching Starts March 2nd

Who should participate?


Entrepreneurs who are committed to growing a healthy business and would benefit from the momentum of ongoing group support. Intention of program:


To offer an affordable, high-value development program for business owners who want support in achieving their goals and developing foundational business practices.

To embrace strategies that result in greater revenues.

To share ideas and provide feedback with business owners who have similar challenges.

To offer an alternative to one-on-one coaching


 Benefits include: · Brainstorming with like-minded professionals. · Momentum, accountability, and support with your goals.


Coaching from Professional Coach Alicia Marie. Format: · Coaching sessions are 1-hour, 3x a month for 4 months. · Each participant gets a 2-3 minute check-in each meeting along with 1 minute of feedback.


Enrollment:  Minimum of 4 participants, maximum of 8 per group

Four month commitment – Cost is $149 per cycle (3 sessions) Email agreement to


All calls are on Mondays at 2pm Central standard time Dates: January 26th February 2nd February 9th February 16th February 23rd March 9th March 16th March 23rd April 6th April 13th April 20th