Leadership Success Model

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At Velocity, we have been working on packaging the value we offer to entrepreneurial clients into a tangible model that can be easily understood and followed.  

The Issue
In our experience working with entrepreneurs, there are a few pain-points that seem to be consistent, and it is these areas that we seek to address with our clients.  Here are some of the common challenges that small business entrepreneurs and leaders are facing:

  • Personal:  Feelings of being overwhelmed, stuck in the weeds, and/or no life/work balance
  • Interpersonal:  Lack of defined vision and alignment among team, and not maximizing talent
  • Business:  Lack of strategic planning process, culture of accountability, and goal execution

In working with entrepreneurs specifically, we hear from them that they can’t get their employees to care as much about the business as they do.  More clearly, they believe that without the level of risk that the entrepreneur is taking, the desire to succeed is not the same.  

The challenge of work/life balance is shared among entrepreneurs and executives alike.   As a result, many leaders suffer from pendulum swings in both arenas in an effort to try to keep up at both work and at home.  Of course, this just means that the leader is not achieving maximum results in either area and is usually experiencing unhappiness or stress in both areas.

The Solution
The 5-Step process we call the Velocity Leadership Success Model can be summed up with the acronym S.O.L.V.E.

S:  Survey & Analyze
O:  Open & Aware
L:  Learn & Grow
V:  Visualize & Execute
E:  Experiment

Each step has a number of components which are described below.  The steps cascade with one flowing into the next, and evolve from a personal development phase to a business development phase.  Each pairing of steps constitutes a phase as described here:

S + O = Personal Development Phase
O + L = Leadership Development Phase
L + V = Team Development Phase
V + E = Business Development Phase
E + S = Development Renewal Cycle

The flow of each step and how the phases are laid out can be seen with this initial visual draft of the Velocity Leadership Success Model.  A full-size version is available if you click on this image.

VLSM

Personal Development Phase
The first two steps of Survey & Analyze and Open & Aware, or the Personal Development Phase, are the critical first steps that we take with the entrepreneur or business leader to get on solid ground before we charge off into any new business directions.  Often neglected and devalued, the Personal Development Phase affects all aspects of leadership and will ultimately define the business.  Equally important is the impact that this phase has on the personal happiness, well-being, and balance of the leader.  Skipping or rushing this step is a common and detrimental mistake many leaders make as the absence of self-understanding is often filled with stress, anxiety, anger, frustration, and poor performance.  Here are the components of each step:

Step 1:  Survey & Analyze

  • Complete the Velocity Leadership Intake Form
  • Begin initial weekly coaching sessions
  • Complete assigned Leadership Assessments:
    • Leader Life Review
    • Leader Strengths Survey
    • Leader Success Survey
    • Leader Values Assessment
    • Leader DiSC Assessment
    • Energy Leadership Index

Step 2:  Open & Aware

  • Develop Personal Core Values
  • Understand Signature Strengths
  • Increase Conscious Thought Monitoring
  • Build a Vision for Personal Growth
  • Develop Personal Leadership Goals
  • Analyze Desired Business Goals
  • Make a Commitment to Owning Outcomes

Leadership Development Phase
The second two steps of Open & Aware and Learn & Grow, or the Leadership Development Phase, is the time when the leader gets to exercise the skills learned in the Personal Development Phase by engaging his or her team to improve themselves.  Leadership can be defined in many ways, but one common description from many entrepreneurs is that true leadership allows others to believe in themselves so that they accomplish more than they ever thought was possible.  This is where the rubber meets the road between the leader and the rest of the team.  Here are the components of each step:

Step 2:  Open & Aware (see above)

Step 3:  Learn & Grow

  • Assess Team Members
    • Life Review Assessment
    • Strengths Assessment
    • Energy Leadership Index
    • DiSC Assessment
    • Professional Development
      • Understanding Interpersonal Communication Styles
      • Manipulating Personal Attitudes for Success
      • Improving Culture Through Communication, Accountability, and Focus
      • Individual Coaching for Team Members

Team Development Phase
The third pairing of steps consisting of Learn & Grow and Visualize & Execute, or the Team Development Phase, is the time when the leader engages the team beyond just personal development and includes them in the strategic planning process of the business.  Through a process of guided discovery, alignment, momentum, accountability and focus, the leader is able to create buy-in for company objectives that his or her team helps to create.  When a team is as invested in the success of the business as the leader, rapid growth is possible. Here are the components of each step:

Step 3:  Learn & Grow (see above)

Step 4:  Visualize & Execute

  • Professional Development for the Leader on the Topic of the Strategic Planning Process
  • Monthly Strategic Planning and Accountability Sessions
  • Weekly Pulse Checks with the leader by Phone
  • Creation of a One-Page Strategic Plan for the Quarter
  • Commitment from both the Leader and the Team to defined Meeting Rhythm
  • Build a Culture of Accountability that Drives Results

Business Development Phase
The fourth pairing of steps consisting of Visualize & Execute and Experiment, or the Business Development Phase, is the mature time of the planning process where the leader truly stops working in the business and starts working on the business.  Here, the leader can take a step back and see the whole forest (not just the tree blocking their view), and make strategic decisions about the direction of the business based on real data and live experience in the field.   Here are the components of each step:

Step 4:  Visualize & Execute (see above)

Step 5:  Experiment

  • Survey & Analyze Again to Determine Gaps in Performance
  • Determine What’s Working and What’s Not in the Quarterly Plans
  • Determine Who’s Working and Who’s Not and Build Plan for Next Steps
  • Provide Additional Professional Development to Address Culture or Skills
  • Provide Additional Coaching as needed for Team
  • Schedule Additional Quarterly Strategy Sessions

The Inspiring Speech Phenomenon
As a leader, have you ever attended a seminar or learning event where you heard an inspirational speech from another leader or entrepreneur where you walked thinking, “I need to immediately do that in my business!”?  And after getting back to the office and sharing your excitement, did you catch any of your team rolling their eyes?  And after a few weeks, did the “best idea you ever heard” lose its luster?  This is what we call the inspiring speech phenomenon.

By following a process that takes a leader from personal and leadership development to team and business development, we eliminate the inspiring speech phenomenon.  What you are left with instead is proven methods in the science of well-being, scientific assessment results, meaningful professional development curriculum, and the buy-in from your team on a strategic plan for your business.

 

In the Trenches

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-by Matt Leedham

Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending a quarterly training on sales and marketing for small business entrepreneurs. It was part of the Accelerator Program of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. There were about 25 business owners there, all striving to make it to the next level. The next level may include revenue, reach (local, regional, national, or global), profitability, balance, etc.

What was abundantly clear is that everyone there wanted to grow their business without completely sacrificing their personal lives. Each owner had unique challenges, but the common bond of wanting growth and being a maverick in the business world, created quick bonds and open sharing of ideas and experiences.

There’s something incredibly attractive about a group like this. They’re in the trenches, taking risks, and making things happen. It’s a unique combination of business acumen and reckless abandon. I love it!

Here are a few takeaways from my experience:

  1. Inspect what you expect.
  2. “Where some see clouds, others see an opportunity to sell umbrellas.” (Sounds like Level 5 Energy)
  3. What’s your competitive advantage? What can you do that no one else does?
  4. “Reject the tyranny of ‘or’ and embrace the genius of ‘and.’”
  5. Are you busy, or productive?
  6. “From day one, we had a healthy disregard for the impossible.” – Larry Page of Google
  7. “The aim of marketing is to know and understand your customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker
  8. Map your sales process from beginning to end – where is the opportunity?
  9. Constantly assess your product or service through evaluations, surveys, and feedback. Make adjustments and recalculate if necessary.
  10. Always be open to learning from anyone or anything around you.

An entrepreneur needs to keep growing and learning or they may be destined for an early exit. Even the most successful entrepreneurs out there are hungry to learn more. We heard from a guest speaker, Devin Schain of Campus Direct. Devin has had three successful ventures, one of which generated hundreds of millions in revenue. He has sold multiple companies, and invests in many others.

Devin made it abundantly clear that the phrase “it was a good learning experience” is a euphemism for “things didn’t quite go so well.” He used that phrase multiple times as he described the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. And even after all the success he’s had along the way, he’s a self-admitted life-long learner. You have to be hungry to shift and adapt with the times, and always be open to learning something new.

Continue to grow. Continue to adapt. Always be learning.

Military Leadership

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-by Matt Leedham

I had incredible opportunity to go to the Pentagon yesterday, get a nice tour of the facility, and a behind-the-scenes briefing from two of America’s finest soldiers.

Toward the end of the tour, we deviated from the normal path of visitors and headed down the Hall of the Chiefs of Staff of the Army. It was noticeably different than any other hallway of the Pentagon. This one was lined with mahogany walls and large, ornately framed portraits of all 35 Chiefs of Staff of the US Army (36 and 37 are on their way). The pace slowed significantly as we looked at images of Dwight D Eisenhower, George C Marshall, and Douglas MacArthur.

We were then led into a briefing room that was oddly wide and short with 30 feet of television monitors in front of us. We all sat on one side and awaited out first presenter, Colonel Macintyre. The Colonel reports to a Lieutenant General (3-stars) and word on the street is that he will likely earn his first star and become a Brigadier General soon.

Colonel Macintyre talked about Army values. He stressed the importance of instilling values in soldiers from the first day they are welcomed by the “reception” command at boot camp. The Army values can be summed up using the acronym LeaDeRSHIP:

  1. Loyalty
  2. Duty
  3. Respect
  4. Selfless Service
  5. Honor
  6. Integrity
  7. Personal Courage

Colonel Macintyre stressed that before joining the army, one’s life is primarily centered around themselves. With the Army values, and consistent training and reinforcement, soldiers quickly realize that they are part of something bigger than themselves.

What a great parallel to business core values. You see, to the Army, their values are not just on some plaque that hangs on the wall of a conference room that no one ever looks at. They are the cornerstone of every thought, decision, and action of our military. Lives, quite literally, hang in the balance.

I hope your business doesn’t have to make life or death decisions on a regular basis, but using values to make decisions and guide strategy is essential. With values, it’s no longer about the individual but about the group moving in unison toward a goal.

Our next presenter was Major General Anderson (2 stars). This guy is the epitome of a battle-hardened, tough-nosed warrior of the U.S. Army. His presence immediately captured our attention. The Major General’s role is to essentially know everything that is going on with the U.S. Army. He is the operations specialist that knows where every division, brigade, unit, and soldier is at any minute around the world. He can immediately tell you the operating status of equipment and personnel anywhere. He also coordinates domestic efforts and responses of the Army and the Coast Guard in times of natural disasters. The Major General has a very good pulse of what is happening anywhere in the world at any given moment.

He’ll be going on his third tour of duty soon in Iraq, where he’ll be given a large swath of land to oversee, including 20-30,000 troops. You could immediately tell that this man has had the command of thousands of troops in his day. His voice was scruffy and biting, reminding me of a junkyard dog. His wit and humor were equally sharp and coupled with his demeanor, made him a rather intimidating man to converse with.

My colleague asked a question about how he coordinates with other agencies regarding communications and intelligence. After he answered, she followed up with, “And then what do you do with all of that information?”

He crossed his arms, leaned in a little, and said, “What do we do with it? We kill people!”

There was silence in the room. All of us afraid he was about to carry out that exact action right then and there.

Then he cracked a barely noticeably smirk. That was enough to lighten the room and we all started laughing.

“Of course we don’t just kill people,” he said. “We make strategic decisions about where to send resources.”

Phew! That was close…

What was noticeable about the Major General was his outstanding confidence in himself and his team. He has innumerable moving parts to keep up with and relies on superb information and sound advice. Speaking with some soldiers later who don’t even report to Major General Anderson, he was described as a phenomenal leader. They told me how adept he was at analyzing complex scenarios and taking decisive action that accounted for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th levels of responses. Essentially, he was always a few moves ahead of any situation. His people trusted him, and he trusted himself. To tie this back to the Energy Leadership, what was being described to me sounded very much like Level 6 – the ability to synthesize information and experiences and see them in totality rather than independently.

Again, what a great parallel to business leadership. Are you able to analyze complex environments and take decisive action that accounts for all possible outcomes? Imagine how employees and colleagues would respond to that level of leadership. What actions can you take to build the confidence in yourself to lead this way?

In closing, an expression of gratitude: I am quite fortunate and blessed to be served and protected by such capable and value-driven individuals. They are truly American heroes, and represent thousands of others around the world that are equally driven to protect our freedom. I am grateful for their service to our nation, and the sacrifice many of them endure so that I may live a life of prosperity and choice.

Secrets to Successful Partnerships

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-by Matt Leedham

I read an article the other day on Entrepreneur.com about successful business partnerships. They talk about the “secrets to success” of famous business partnerships. They highlight that most partnerships fizzle out (or crash and burn), but there are few famous examples of partnerships that have thrived for years. It’s a short, interesting read and I enjoyed the analysis of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, and Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger (who I’ve seen live a couple times at the Berkshire-Hathaway Annual Meeting).

What’s not so surprising though, is that the “secrets” of a successful business partnership sound eerily similar to the long-standing foundations of a successful marriage, or a successful friendship, or a successful employee-manager relationship. What are these secrets?

Drum roll please…

Trust – this doesn’t refer to obvious issues of trust, like embezzlement, as much as it refers to each partner knowing that the other is 100% invested in the partnership.

Mutual Respect – the understanding that one partner cannot achieve nearly as much without the unique talents and gifts of the other.

Shared Vision and Values – this is a long-term understanding of what is important to each partner and both believing in the ultimate goal of the partnership.

Honest and Open Communication – they actually say in the article that “taking on a partner is like taking on a spouse.” Any partnership depends on truth and open dialog.

Shocking, right?

Whether you are an entrepreneur, manager, or have significant personal and business relationships, how do you think this applies to you?

What I find is that many personal and business partnerships have trust and respect, and work hard at open communication because they know how important that is. But in reality, many partnerships are missing the shared vision and values.

Does your partner/employee/manager/spouse clearly understand what you value and what you want long-term? Is this an area of opportunity for you to gain clarity and share your thoughts?

Don’t wait to share your vision and values – life’s too short to keep it to yourself!

The Blended Life

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-by Matt Leedham

Coaching entrepreneurs is exciting work, particularly when there is a new idea taking off or the business is growing. Inevitably, though, the topic of work/life balance comes up. Without fail, this will be discussed in the first few sessions with a new client.

Understandably, this is a concern for a business owner. They have clients, vendors, employees, spouses, children, pets, homes, cars, health concerns, friends, parents, and siblings to worry about. That’s a lot of plates to be spinning. How is it possible to balance it all?

Answer: It’s NOT!

Balance for an entrepreneur is overrated and unrealistic. Rather, a blended life where are all responsibilities and relationships are integrated with each other is the key.

How do you create a The Blended Life without alienating your family and friends or your employees and clients?

Step 1: Awareness

Analyze the situation. Jot down all of your roles in life (e.g. friend, mother, father, boss, CEO, visionary, etc.). Continue to write down the responsibilities of each role. Then start to formulate thoughts around how you can blend these things together, particularly where they overlap.

Step 2: Communication

Once you’ve identified all of your roles and key stakeholders, it’s time to reach out. With a humble heart, you are asking for help and support. You will communicate your different roles and how integration in your life is a priority. You may even ask for suggestions on how you can better integrate all that is important to you.

Step 3: Execution

With your spouse, children, and employees, it is critical that you build in a rhythm of communication and collaboration. The successful execution of your integration plan depends upon this. Keeping everyone informed and part of the process will yield buy-in and engagement.

As you integrate your priorities, you will begin to see “cross-functional” support for your goals. Your employees will cheer you on as you tackle personal goals. And your family and friends will cheer you on as you take on big business opportunities.

With support coming from all around you, you will now begin to see that being an entrepreneur isn’t a job, it’s who you are. It permeates all that you do and touches everyone around you.

Entrepreneurial Leadership

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-by Matt Leedham

In my experience coaching entrepreneurs, I find that leadership styles vary widely. However, most leadership styles seem to start out the same. At first, most entrepreneurs are hard-charging workaholics that demonstrate hard work by example. They go and go and go, and push their employees to do the same. At first, this is an effective way to lead a startup or small business – foot on the gas pedal with no end in sight.

Over time though, this model for leadership begins to break down and take its toll on both the business owner and the employees. All of a sudden, life is out of balance, the business depends on the owner to succeed, and unhappiness ensues. Without exception, the first two things that suffer as the business grows are personal relationships and health. This is usually when entrepreneurs begin to seek help and may start to ask me more about what coaching can do.

Here is an excerpt from the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s (EO) award-winning magazine, Octane. This is from an article called The Push/Pull Theory of Leadership, written by a true entrepreneur out of Cincinnati, Jamie Gerdsen. Jamie owns Apollo, a successful heating and cooling company, and I’ve gotten to know him quite well over the last year.

When I launched my business, my focus was on simply growing the company. The success of my business was defined solely on my ability to push the company and my employees for results. I believed that leaders always outworked those around them, but when growth occurred and my sphere of influence diminished, the pushing was no longer effective. My company’s success was limited due to my ineffective leadership style. Worst of all, I became everything I never wanted to be: a self-absorbed, busy beta thinker that was unwilling to trust those around him to pull his family, company and self to the next level.

In pursuit of a new leadership style—one that enabled me to split time between my work and home—I revisited notes from EO learning events, Forum, Universities and miscellaneous journals. I reached out to the best leaders I could find. I hired an executive coach. I even attended the EO Leadership Academy. Throughout it all, I began to realize that the strongest leaders were not pushers; rather, they empowered their employees by allowing them to pull leaders along. It occurred to me that I was pushing my team to the point where they could not, or did not want, to keep up with my pace. As a result, I was compensating for their efforts, leaving me remiss of a home life.

With this knowledge in hand, I came up with what I call the “push/pull theory” of leadership. This theory can be seen in competitive rowing. I spent 12 years rowing, and found that the fastest boats were manned by crews that pulled together. When I was thinking through my leadership challenges, I realized that I wasn’t allowing my employees to pull the “company boat.” To improve, I began to really listen to what was happening. I discovered that training for leadership was low or non-existent. The first directive of my theory was to allow the leaders in the organization to lead. The second was to allow my team to make mistakes and learn from them through daily, weekly and monthly huddles. Finally, I had to stay patient, which is still pretty challenging. By spending more time listening and less time telling people what to do, I was able to revamp my entire business.

Not surprisingly, Jamie goes on to tell us that his company grew by 30% and he’s spending much more time at home building significant relationships with his wife and children. Going back to the Energy Leadership Model, Jamie shifted from Level 2/3 to Level 5 and is reaping the benefits.

Level 2 leadership is based in conflict. It’s not uncommon for leaders to push hard to get results because up until then, that’s all that worked. Level 3 leadership takes responsibility for the situation and builds in coping mechanisms to make things work. This is the level of “good enough.” But as you can see, it really wasn’t “good enough” for Jamie and his family. That’s when the transition to Level 5 occurred. He began to realize there was another way. As entrepreneur, he knew there was a solution here – a way for everyone to win.

In the article, Jaime calls it a “leadership paradox.” It’s true – it can be counterintuitive. What he discovered was that the more he could let go, the more the company would grow. He allowed his team to grow by giving his leaders the opportunity to lead. Leading gave his leaders and opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. And all of this gave Jamie the opportunity to grow his personal relationships. Talk about a win/win/win!

How are you leading? At work? At home? Look for the opportunity to let others grow. You will grow in their growth, and everyone will win.

Making Dreams Come True

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-by Matt Leedham

A couple of months ago, I attended an intensive entrepreneurial executive education program associated with MIT and the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO). One of the presenters did a quick straw poll of the 60+ successful entrepreneurs in the room and asked them about the #1 issue/challenge/concern they were facing. Their choices were:

  1. Cash Flow
  2. Margin/Profit
  3. People
  4. Strategy

Overwhelmingly, 75% of the group answered “people.” Of all the things that these successful business owners had to think about, they were usually thinking about people.

Which reminds me of something a successful entrepreneur I know out of Phoenix once said to me. “This stuff would be easy if it weren’t for all the people. I mean, just think of it. No vendors, no employees… no customers!”

His dream of eliminating people from the equation does not surprise me. It fact it confirms something many of us already know. Entrepreneurs don’t like people! Let’s face it, entrepreneurs are a rare breed. If you know one (or especially work for one), you know what I’m talking about.

So often, I hear how frustrated entrepreneurs are with their employees, telling me that their employees don’t care about the business as much as they do. I hear that employees are not invested in the success of the business and can’t be trusted. If you’ve been following our writing on core energy, you might recognize this as Level 2 energy.

So, what we do? Successful companies are built on the backs of hardworking, loyal, creative people. Entrepreneurs can’t live in that utopian world of both owning a successful business and eliminating all people from the equation.

The key here is inspiration. Entrepreneurs are good at this, but it often gets lost in the weeds of trying to run the business day-to-day. People need a leader they want to follow, and people follow leaders that inspire them.

But owning a business does not automatically make you a great leader, just like having a child does not automatically make you great parent. You need to work on the skills while pouring your heart and soul into it. You need communicate the emotion behind what you are doing.

This is a bit more complicated than a quick and dirty 5-step process, but let me give you two things you can do right now to have impact immediately with employees. By the way, this is also true for managers, parents, spouses, etc.

Paint the Picture
Create a vision of the future that looks and feels real. Be clear about what you want and where you want to go. In addition to the hard, cold facts of this future, communicate even more clearly, how this future feels. Your vision of the future needs to be visceral. It should be emotionally charged, energizing those that engage with it and are making it a reality.

Be clear on the “who” and “why” of what you want, not just the “how” and “what.” The “who” is the vision/mission/values of both you and your company. Your “who” is not something that is developed over night. It’s been a long time in development. The “why” is tied to your vision and your purpose. Why are you in business? Why should anyone care? Write this down, do it collaboratively if necessary, and review it with anyone new that comes on board.

Invest in their Dreams
As a leader, you are asking others to invest in your dream. You are asking others to commit time, energy, and sometimes money to make your dream a reality. Frankly, a paycheck is not enough in return. Invest in their dreams just like you are asking them to invest in yours. This is inspiring. And it will create loyalty. It also creates a culture of making dreams come true. And who wouldn’t want to work at place like that?

Think about it. Every business offers compensation in the form of salaries, health benefits, retirement accounts, bonuses, etc. These are the table stakes…the bare minimum, in many cases, to even play the game. What will set you apart and create a fierce culture of awesomeness, is to invest in the intangible benefit of helping someone do something they’ve always wanted to do but didn’t have the time, money, resources, or connections to make happen. Now this is bouncing around Energy Levels 4 and 5. That’s where you want to be.

A New Day is Dawning (Velocity, v2.0)

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-by Matt Leedham

Hello Achievers!

This is not one of our typical blog posts, but rather an update about Velocity. We have some exciting news to share about our focus and the changes that will be coming as we move forward. Those changes affect this blog as well and we wanted to keep you all informed.

  • Over the last 10 months, Velocity has done some fun things. Let’s take a look at just a few:
  • Published over 200 blog posts (wow!)
  • Interviewed 33 achievers in our Friday special, “TGIF: This Goal Is Finished” (applause to all of you!)
  • Have had over 15,000 visits to our blog/website (thank you!)
  • Have spoken over 10 times to groups of students, teachers, entrepreneurs, and generally awesome people about goal setting and achieving more
  • Have individually coached entrepreneurs, principals, teachers, consultants, and lawyers

We have had a great time changing lives and making an impact on our community by helping others realize their true potential for achievement. Through all of this experience, Velocity has become more narrowly focused on our target demographic (our niche) and how we serve them (our specialty). We will now be focused on Leadership Development and Coaching with two groups of people:

  1. Professional Educators (i.e. Teachers, Principals, and other Education Administrators)
  2. Entrepreneurs

Jaime and Matt each bring specific skill sets that will serve these two groups in ways that simply improve our community. We believe in the lofty vision that we’ll all benefit from more effective teacher/leaders helping students learn more, and more effective entrepreneurs/leaders managing people and taking care of customers. You can read our thoughts in more detail on each of these categories below.

How will this affect our blog?

Our blog format will be changing going forward to better represent our focus. Each week, Jaime will publish one education-specific post and Matt will publish one entrepreneur-specific post. Don’t worry though, the “Matt & Jaime Show” will continue with at least two general achievement posts each week. The TGIF series will be disappear as a regularly scheduled program, but please do share your successes with us as we would love to share your stories and help you celebrate your wins!

Some Thoughts on Education…

Educators, Education administrators, Parents, Community Members, News Media, Politicians, and Pundits all agree that the American system of Education is failing our students. Reform has been the battle cry for years — most recently with the enactment of No Child Left Behind and the advent of testing and “data-driven” results as the go-to evaluative method for academic success.

Every curriculum specialist, education program, educational professional and consultant is looking for or hawking the ‘magic pill’ to save our schools. At Velocity, we believe that there is no magic pill. If there were one thing we could do across the board to dramatically change the face of education for the better, it would be changing people’s minds.

We know that engagement, leadership ability, energy, and attitude are critical to any successful endeavor, and certainly critical to the success of school administration, faculty, and ultimately the students we want to succeed. What if you felt engaged every single day you walked into work? What if your work and personal lives were balanced in a way that consistently gave you joy? What if you were surrounded by people as energized as you were about your work and found opportunities in every challenge?

Our goal is to massively transform K-12 education at its building block, starting with educators. We are focused specifically on faculty and administrators working in urban Title I schools in improvement status — the schools that most desperately need a huge shot of passion and engagement.

Using the research-based attitudinal assessment created by renowned coach and psychologist, Bruce D. Schneider, the Energy Leadership Index Assessment (ELI), we are able to get a “moment in time” snapshot of how you feel at work and at home. Unlike Myers-Briggs or DISC assessments that tell you how to best operate within a certain label of strengths and weaknesses, the ELI measures your energy and engagement level at the current time.

We use this assessment as a roadmap for personalized coaching to help educators effect positive change in their careers. What is so amazing about Energy Leadership is that it will not only reinvigorate a career, but it will have a ripple effect on an entire life — improving personal relationships, creating a sense of peace, and help build sustainable happiness.

One teacher who recently went through just two hours of training with us said, “I knew you guys were going to be good, but you really blew me away. Thanks for relighting my fire.”

Jaime has been teaching and training for over twelve years. She has worked with schools, community groups, and non-profits around the world, including DC Public and Public Charter Schools, Howard University, Western Michigan University, Nanjing University in China, Passports to College of Bermuda, Baçeşehir University of Istanbul, Turkey, the National Institute of Health, Prince Georges County Public Schools, Montgomery County Public Schools, Andrus Family Fund, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the I Have a Dream Foundation, among others. She is an energetic and entertaining speaker and trainer who enjoys helping students and professional reach their personal and professional best.

Some Thoughts on Entrepreneurship…

Small businesses drive our economy. Did you know that small businesses represent over 99% of all employers in the U.S.? Or that they have generated 65% of new jobs over the last two decades? In 2009 alone, over 500,000 new businesses were created. Think about all of the people that were employed by those businesses!

Supporting entrepreneurs is a critical piece to establishing a more abundant economy and more prosperous communities. In other words, by creating programs and services that help entrepreneurs lead more successful business, which will provide salaries and benefits for their employees, we can build better, more stable communities.

The challenge for many entrepreneurs is balanced growth and focus. The maverick attitude that got an entrepreneur to spark a new business concept can waiver under the pressure of achievement as more people become involved in the business. Employees, clients, vendors, and investors all have needs and demands to be met. All of a sudden, the fun and exciting ride with the pedal to the metal, becomes a more like a roller coaster ride with ups and downs and that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.

At Velocity, we believe the most effective way to grow as an entrepreneur is to focus on a 3-step process:

  • Awareness – focus on who you are, why you do what you do, and where you want to go from here.
  • Balance – focus on the whole picture, including your personal relationships, health, and enjoyment.
  • Conquer – with a foundation of awareness and balance, become laser-focused on conquering your vision

Using the research-based attitudinal assessment created by renowned coach and psychologist, Bruce D. Schneider, the Energy Leadership Index Assessment (ELI), we are able to get a “moment in time” snapshot of how an entrepreneur feels at work and at home. Unlike Myers-Briggs or DISC assessments that tell you how to best operate within a certain label of strengths and weaknesses, the ELI measures your energy and engagement level at the current time.

We use this assessment as a roadmap for personalized coaching to help entrepreneurs effect positive change in their careers. What is so amazing about Energy Leadership is that it will not only reinvigorate a career, but it will have a ripple effect on an entire life — improving personal relationships, creating a sense of peace, and help build sustainable happiness.

After a few weeks of coaching, one entrepreneur said, “Matt is insightful, a creative thinker and solution oriented. His expertise in business and entrepreneurship is invaluable. He has his finger on the pulse of current business trends and technology which I found abundantly helpful.”

Matt has spent the last 7 years working with entrepreneurs in business development, strategic planning, coaching, and consulting. He has spent the last 4 years working with over 1,000 entrepreneurs across the U.S. in building measurable action plans tied to strategic visions. With Velocity being his second entrepreneurial venture, Matt uses his experience, knowledge, resources, and networks to help other entrepreneurs realize their potential and reach their vision. He is passionate about helping entrepreneurs reach the next level in their business without sacrificing their health, relationships, or happiness along the way.