January 2015 - In This Issue:
Coffey Building Group President Tom Coffey and CEO Denise DeGroff-Coffey with Jeanne Reaves in front of their new offices in Placerville. The Coffeys understand the rules to success and practice them every day.
Q&A: Delegation
Q:  I have difficulty delegating because I want it done my way and it takes too much time to show someone else how to do it. Can you give me some tips on how to delegate?


- Sandy, Financial Industry
A: Success is achieved through successful delegation. You train others to do new things and then you have time to be more strategic and get bigger things done. There are great advantages achieved through delegation.

You, like many others, have the feeling it may be easier and faster to just "do it myself" - but is it? If you just keep doing and doing without delegating you will not have time to be more strategic and accomplish bigger tasks.

So, what are the steps to delegation? Let me share a few steps to follow when learning to delegate. One of the first steps is deciding when, and with whom, you should consider delegating to.

When you pick something up, ask yourself "is there someone I think has the background, expertise, connections and time to do this job? Does this task provide an opportunity to grow and develop someone else's skills? Do I have enough time to delegate?" Be honest with yourself, if you take a little time to train now, it will pay great dividends later, especially when the task comes up again. The bigger question is: "Should I delegate this task or am I just too controlling?" Another good question - "Is this a good use of my time?"

Some of the objections I hear when working with leaders is - "I need to make sure the task is done right" - "It is easier to do it myself" - "My staff doesn't have time" - "I don't have the confidence it will be done to meet my high standards." With these objections in mind, let's talk about how you can break through these obstacles.

Delegation provides professional growth. You create greater value in your staff's expertise and they feel your trust.

When you delegate, particularly to someone new at the task, ask them to "make decisions and keep you informed along the way" or they can "make decisions and just discuss them with you before taking action." Always set progress meetings to keep you updated and for the assurance that things are meeting your needs. When being asked to assist in a decision, ask your staff to give you their thoughts. After learning of their decision, and you feel it is the same you would have made, let them know that in the future they can just take action on that type decision without asking.

By meeting with staff regularly, particularly in the beginning, it gives you the confidence things that are going well and the staff member gains confidence in meeting your needs.

Make sure you "test" your staff. Sometimes our staff has greater expertise than we give credit. Take advantage of the staff you know has the expertise to do the task and if they don't, remember, training now will make it easier the next time the same task comes along.

A manager early in my career said "Jeanne, if the 'i' isn't dotted just the way you would and the 't' isn't crossed exactly the way you would but the job is done well and presented professionally - it should be okay." Delegating doesn't mean lowering your standards, it means communicating your standards to someone else. As my boss was saying to me - does it really matter if the task was done my way as long as it meets my standards? Having said that you also need to keep in mind that when delegated work is delivered back to you, set aside enough time to review it thoroughly. If possible, only accept good quality, fully completed work. If you accept work you are not satisfied with, your team member does not learn to do the job properly. Worse than this, you accept a whole new tranche of work that you will probably need to complete yourself. Not only does this overload you, it means that you don't have the time to do your own job properly.

When delegating, make sure you are specific when giving instructions and don't forget to include what the goal of the task is and when you want the task completed. And make sure that the team member knows you want to know if any problems occur and that you are available for any questions or guidance needed as the work progresses.

Someone once said, "If you don't own a project, why would you care?" While you might assist along the way, don't take ownership; let the team member be accountable and responsible for the outcome, even when you're assisting. Spreading accountability and a sense of ownership creates a stronger and higher producing team. Delegation shows confidence in both parties.

As for your staff's time - don't assume they don't have time because they probably do and they will enjoy learning something new. If they feel they don't have time then help them in prioritizing their activities if necessary so you can delegate your tasks.

Delegating takes practice. Start with clear instructions; give some latitude in decision-making so you improve your own ability to respond more quickly to changes. How does delegating give you more time? Strengthening your team through delegation allows you to have a higher degree of skillful leaders you can rely on and they will be able to step in and manage when the need arises. Delegation also relieves the stress of having too much to do and it allows some "balance" in your life between work and personal time.

This quote sums up the benefits and importance of delegation:

"Even 'Super You' needs help and support. There is no shame in asking for assistance. Push aside the pride and show respect for the talent others can bring to the table. And, remember that there is no such thing as a single-handed success: when you include and acknowledge all those in your corner, you propel yourself, your teammates and your supporters to greater heights."

- Author Unknown


Ten Rules to a Successful Business

A recent article in Forbes resonated with me as I feel no matter how large or small our companies are, we need to strongly consider the 10 Rules for a Successful Business as practiced by Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff.

For those of you who are not familiar with Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff, they built Honest Tea from scratch into a $100 million enterprise.

As you look over what you have done during this past year, think about where you want to go, revisit your strategic action plan to ensure goals for the future are met and think about how you can follow and build on these 10 rules for success.

Although many of us may not build our companies into a $100 million enterprise we can be successful with what we can do by following and building on their rules for success.

1. "Build something you believe in - because that's the first step to building a great brand."

When starting my business most everyone thought we were only working with financial institutions. That made sense because that was what I was known for. I knew I needed to let the community know - let my prospects know - that I work within most all industries. Why? Because I know our principles apply to all businesses and I believe passionately in what our company offers our clients. I knew what I had to do to start our branding - Do you?

2. "Don't aim for 10% improvement. Make it radically better and different."

Competition - yes there is competition - so learn from them. Don't just offer what someone else is offering - do what you love doing and make it special - something better - something you are proud of regardless of whether you are selling a "widget" or providing a service. Just as many singers say, "I sing popular songs but I make it my own." Find and do something "better and different."

3. "Prepare to be copied. Don't start unless you'll survive imitation."

With the Internet, YouTube, and other means of communication, in addition to all of the startups, don't plan to be the sole provider of your services. Don't be concerned either - one company cannot supply all the needs within your industry. You just need to be a believer in what you do and deliver your services in a special way. This breeds success. As learned in the Forbes article, Honest Tea owners made friends with one of the gorillas and let them buy them out (Coca-Cola Company acquired Honest Tea in 2011). Not a bad idea if this is your exit strategy - or an offer too good to pass up.

4. "Build up reserves of money and energy for bad luck and mistakes."

There will be mistakes along the way, and a little bad luck now and then, but if you can't weather the storm you will be out of business. Remember, keep expenses down, run your business lean and ask yourself if you really need to spend money on things that come up. Yes, you need to spend money to get money but spend it wisely. If you have capital you will have the energy to grow the company.

5. "Never, ever give up control - until you sell."

Raising venture capital doesn't mean you need to give up control of your company. When you lose control, you lose the vision and strategic initiatives you have and want to put in place. Also learned in the Forbes article, "even though Honest Tea raised investment capital from the beginning, the co-founders always remained in the driver's seat. (And yes - Goldman can still drive his vision as CEO of Honest Tea, but his boss at Coca-Cola can say 'no' at anytime. Thus, true control is forever gone.)"

6. "Don't compromise on the big things - compromise on everything else."

When establishing a company, Vision Statements, Mission Statements and Core Values are absolutely critical. This is the future - the direction - the soul of your company and don't stray from them. Don't get distracted from who you are and what your company stands for. Where the compromise and flexibility needs to be is in your product or services. Know where the market is and how your product and services fit in that market - don't hang on to something that doesn't meet the customer's needs - remember listen to the "market" and what is happening. You don't need to change constantly (not a good practice - sure way to fail) - but you do need to be "current."

7. "Figure out how to achieve your goals on a tiny budget - then cut that number in half."

Too many times we think we need all the bells and whistles, the big office to show we're successful, entertain without being strategic about it and lots of collateral material. I say, run your company lean and know where the dollars are going - do you really need to spend the dollars being spent. Not keeping on a "realistic" budget is a sure sign of disaster.

8. "It's a marathon, not a sprint."

I think this is one of the most difficult things for many new entrepreneurs to understand and to accept. They have an idea, know the world needs their "widget" and services and expect to be millionaires overnight. It takes time, time to build the business, time for the "world" to learn about the company and time to be a good leader. Existing companies also need to understand that it takes capital to sprint - do you have the capital to do what you think you can do? Do you have the leadership and experience to meet your vision as you travel the journey? You may want to consider a coach.

9. "Take care of your family, personal and spiritual health - if you aren't laughing or smiling on a regular basis, recalibrate."

I learned a great lesson from what I understand Goldman's practice has been throughout his career. He told an author that there are two reasons he made it through the rough years: First - he believed in his purpose, second - his drive for personal balance. I admire him for this because too many times we are so involved in making our company successful we forget what our purpose is and the need for personal balance. I didn't always stand true to this but wish I had - don't make the same mistake.

10. "Build the enterprise and the brand as if you'll own them forever."

So many times companies are started for a quick sell and rarely do they succeed. I am aware of a few banks that opened their doors with the understanding to their investors they would sell within 5 years thereby realizing a huge return on investment, but due to change in the market, they were not able to sell. This is not just in the banking industry, it is in all industries. Remember, following these rules will permit you to sell your company if and when you feel it is the "right" time - in the meantime - build, build, build the enterprise.

Remember - work hard, play hard and enjoy what you are doing and make sure your family is enjoying the ride along with you.


Board Room
Assess your board of directors for future success

Nonprofit board assessment will provide a better understanding of board and committee performance responsibilities and priorities for board activities going forward.


A board assessment is designed to identify the areas of strong board performance and areas that need development, identify priority areas for the board to focus on over the next 1 or 2 years and to permit different views to emerge.


The Maine Association of Nonprofits summed up the critical importance of performing regular self-assessments for boards:


"A strong, vibrant board of directors is a clear indicator of a healthy organization. Yet even the best organizations need a periodic check-up to ensure that they cannot just survive but will really thrive in today's environment. To check your board's vital signs, or to put in place practices and strategies for a healthy and energized board, the best place to start is with a board self-assessment."


According to a recent Board Source Nonprofit Governance Index, 58 percent of chief executives and 56 percent of board members think their boards are well informed about their responsibilities. Boards of large organizations (71 percent) and foundations (68 percent) tend to be better informed of these duties. Boards that are better informed are also described as more engaged and more effective.


Thirty percent of boards have assessed their own performance within the last 12 months, another 20 percent within the last one to three years, and 10 percent more than three years ago. Of the boards that did a formal evaluation in the last three years, 66 percent were rated as "very effective" by their chief executives. Of the 33 percent of boards that have never done a formal board evaluation, 58 percent were rated "ineffective."


We have found many board members do not have a clear grasp on their responsibilities and fiduciary obligation. It is the responsibility of the board and staff to make sure a good orientation is performed with updates at board meetings. Good governance, although being practiced more effectively now than in the past, still has a ways to go. Stronger governance has been accomplished due to the new IRS 990 put in place requiring board members be accountable for oversight however board members need guidance, especially new board members. As a board member you must remember you were asked to join the board because of your unique skills and passion for the cause - share your skills as much as you do your passion.


Through an effective board assessment, board governance practices are reinforced and the spirit of a strong culture of accountability and transparency is realized. Please call us for assistance in performing a Board Assessment with your Board. References will be provided.


Notable Nonprofits
Supporting Sacramento's Nonprofits is important to us.
Junior Achievement of Sacramento (JA) was established in 1961. In the past 50 years, the organization has provided in-classroom, after-school and "in-a-day" curriculum and workshops to nearly 320,000 elementary, middle and high school students. Focused on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workforce readiness, their programs assist individuals in becoming productive members of society. Junior Achievement also provides "job shadowing" opportunities for high school students.

As documented by numerous studies, students, teachers and volunteers all benefit from their JA experience. JA students have greater business acumen, are better prepared for work, demonstrate the entrepreneurial spirit through innovation and initiative, and have a solid grasp of the "life skills" necessary for success. They also possess enhanced skills in critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making. Also, this positive impact is "paid forward" throughout their lifetimes. Based on a 10-year longitudinal study of former JA students, they are more likely to complete high school, be employed and enroll in college than other same-age students. They also have a heightened sense of community commitment. Many former JA students have gone on to become business leaders in our community, and many are active volunteers in JA classrooms today!

You Too Can Teach A JA Program In The Classroom

Using JA prepared curriculum and instructional classroom kits, you can apply your experience and knowledge to illustrate concepts so they are relevant and meaningful to the students. They will help match you to the right teaching opportunity based on your grade preferences, your available time commitment, and your geographical preferences. Call today at (916) 480-2770 ext. 13 or at www.jasac.org.

I had the honor of serving (for a short time) as the interim CEO for this great organization. The thing that immediately struck me during the interview process and then working for them was the passion, professionalism and corporate way that management conducts business and how this behavior is carried out by the board members in the board room.

Stanford Youth Solutions is a highly disciplined, evidence-based organization that typically achieves a higher success rate with its clients than other, similar organizations.

They are intensely determined and do whatever it takes to create success for youth - they are known for the phrase "we never give up."

Thousands of children and youth in our community are suffering from serious mental health conditions that without help, face significant obstacles to realizing their full potential. Through Stanford Youth Solutions' Flexible Integrated Treatment (FIT) program, our community's at-risk youth and their families become empowered to lead their lives more fully through their intensive, evidence-based therapy and case management services.

This is just one service Stanford Youth Solutions provides, however, they also provide the wraparound program which includes services to Sacramento County youth who have been placed in group care or are at risk of such placement so they have a good chance to succeed in a family setting. Stanford Youth Solutions' Juvenile Justice and Crime Prevention Program (JJCP) program works in partnership with Sacramento County Probation Department supporting the Restorative Justice Model, focusing on community protection, victim restoration, and offender accountability and competency. Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS) provides community-based, one-on-one, short-term support to young people who are at risk of being moved into a higher, more restrictive placement (hospital, residential facility) or need support transitioning to a lower level placement (family home, foster home, group home).

These are among the many services provided to our at risk youth and families throughout this community. I encourage you to visit their website, www.youthsolutions.org and learn more about their services and how you might get involved.

To learn more about Jeanne Reaves Consulting's community involvement and how we support nonprofit organizations, visit our website. >>

Jeanne Reaves

We can help you reach your highest potential.

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