Invest in Your Company

Investments are important news as we begin 2018 and continue to break records. I’ve got some ideas about how you can make your earnings grow more in the long term: Invest in your success by investing in yourself and your people.

There’s been no better time in recent years to set money aside to ensure your company’s long-term success. Investing in your vision, and especially your people, makes good business sense. Here are a few ways to invest in success in 2018:

Refine your vision. Is your company now ready to use some earnings for long-awaited expansion of space, product lines or other services? If so, you might need to take another look at your Vision and include key players. Remember, vision inspires possibilities!

Assess employee skills and success factors. Don’t wait for hard times to reassess your staffing or seek new talent to balance your team. This is the time to assess managers and other employees, especially those who show potential, to identify their key strengths. The Miller Success Factors Assessment helps employees and organizations better understand their strengths and talents in detail.

Establish trust and feedback. Mutual trust is critical within an organization. Employees need to trust managers, and leadership should trust employees to do their jobs. It helps when employees receive timely feedback about their performance and when they feel safe and comfortable giving feedback to improve the organization.

Pay for professional development. Once you identify employees with high potential for success, invest in them directly. Motivated self-starters often invest in themselves, but when their organization invests in them, it breeds increased loyalty. It’s worth your while to spend a little time and money to improve the desired skills of all individuals in your organization. It will really pay off to invest in star employees. We’ve found, for example, that participating in our Fast Track to Success! program reduces turnover by energizing and inspiring employees who want to stay and see your vision through.

When you invest in your vision and people, you lay the groundwork for a path to success. Let Success Factors Inc. help you invest in the future. Learn more about how we can make your investment in your organization pay off on our  website or by calling us at 425-485-3221.

Values Drive Success

The word “Values” has overlapping and yet distinctive meanings. On the one hand, your values represent importance or benefit of something, whether monetary or not. On the other hand, values are like moral codes, representing principles and standards on which a person might judge what’s important. Of course, the word “value” also can represent a monetary measure. Although the steps you take to identify and act on your core values can lead to monetary success or enhance  your value as a leader, you have to follow core values intrinsic in yourself or your company to get there.

Values guide personal and business ethics, but they also guide how a company sets it vision, mission, strategies and measures of success. How do leaders spot, incorporate and communicate personal and corporate values?

Core Values

Typically, a company’s values are derived from its founder. Changes in leadership or environment might adjust the values, but for the most part, original personal values form the basis for the entire company. Here are a few examples of values in lists for leading companies:

  • Coca-Cola: Integrity, be real.
  • Southwest Airlines: Persevere
  • Starbucks: Creating a culture of warmth and belonging where everyone is welcome.
  • Virgin Airlines: We think customer.
  • IKEA: Daring to be different.

Getting in touch with your own personal values helps you set and stick to a vision of success. And companies striving to set or revamp their missions always should incorporate values of key stakeholders. Finding your own values or those of your corporation boils down to determining what makes you demonstrate success without sacrificing principles, or finding both monetary success and maintaining loyal customers and workers. What brings you joy?

Values and Passion

Speaking of joy, values and passion are inter-related. If, for example, your values emphasize being a good steward of the Earth, you’re probably passionate about sustainability. Or maybe your values are influenced by your religion, and you’re passionate about helping others. No matter the specifics, passions you’ve discovered typically match your core values, and vice versa.

Values might drive your vision and strategies, but passion helps you meet your goals. It establishes and maintains the sense of purpose, and in turn, operating with passion can be listed as a key personal or organizational value.   In other words, one of your values is to love what you do.

Articulate Values and Vision

To ignite passion throughout a team or organization, company leaders must share the core values and vision with managers and individuals. Your most passionate employees will share those values and demonstrate enthusiasm for their jobs without thinking about it – they share the same values.

Most of all, leaders must be honest about their values and model them rather than simply printing them on a poster for the break room. Believe me, there is precedence for meaningless values. In this Harvard Business Review article, author Patrick M. Lencioni lists the corporate values of Enron, a huge energy company charged with committing one of the country’s biggest accounting frauds in history.

So, more than anything, values need to be honest. Living by them can mean some pain along the way. But with perseverance, those individuals and companies that follow their core values are more likely to reach – and especially maintain – success.

Learn how you can incorporate values into your own personal or organizational vision with Success Factors Inc.  Call us today (425-485-3221).


Seven Surefire Ways to Lose Your Best Workers

  1. Failing to recognize and reward. Employers don’t have to provide pizza every Friday to reward employees for doing their jobs; they get a paycheck for that. But failing to recognize and reward those extra efforts of teams and individuals is a surefire way to lead them out the door, or at least lose some of the drive and enthusiasm that produced their recent results. Rewards can range from simple expressions of appreciation from leaders to formal recognition programs. The point is to systematically encourage behavior and action you want repeated in this and other employees.
  2. Too much support for the status quo. Sometimes, those at the top begin to resist change. CEOs and other leaders often built companies from the ground up or brought them to the pinnacle of success. But owning the status quo too tightly and becoming stagnant in polices, innovation or employee development can cause some of your most successful self-starters to run for the hills, or at least a career ladder at your competitor.
  3. Playing the blame game. Often, stagnation comes from people pointing fingers rather than innovating. Blaming especially is a problem for managers who throw individuals or team members under the bus. The company culture should show that mistakes are correctable, and managers should be held accountable if they try to pin all issues on their workers.
  4. Being dishonest. Employees don’t want to work for people who lie, no matter the justification. Paternalistic organizations often treat employees as too delicate to know the truth, and they craft misleading communication. The employees you most want to engage and retain are the most likely to be turned off by dishonesty, especially if the lie gets them in hot water with customers or fellow workers.
  5. Failing to communicate. There’s lying, and then there’s not telling. A culture that wants to “protect” employees from bad news such as sinking profits does a disservice to workers and the company at large by withholding information employees might have a right to know. For example, individuals and the all-powerful rumor mill will create their own ideas about why hiring suddenly slows or benefits change.
  6. Micromanaging. Your top performers work hard because they’re driven by internal or external factors. The very people who perform best for your company are the ones most turned off by micromanagement. Second guessing decisions, reviewing everything an employee does, and setting policies that regulate every facet of their work might seem OK to leaders, who just want to make sure things run smoothly. But employees ultimately view these behaviors as lack of trust. You can hand out pizza and days off all you want, but workers who feel they are not trusted to do their jobs won’t feel their skills and commitment are appreciated on a day-to-day basis.
  7. Worrying about the wrong things. Sometimes, micromanaging stems from worry and a focus on trying to control everything that happens in a workplace. It’s impossible to control every behavior and action that takes place under your roof or brand. Employees need guidelines that pave the way, but top performers need some room to breathe. If you knee-jerk react to any employee problem with new rules confining everyone’s performance or contradicting company and employee values, you lose much more than you gain. Focus on what’s most important.


The best employees make your company even better. Engage and retain workers headed for success. We can help you identify and engage top performers with our Fast Track to Success program. Learn more here or by calling us at 425-485-3221.

Five Tips for Improving Positive Thinking

Being positive can make you feel energized and take calculated risks. On the other hand, being negative slows productivity. Sure, it’s possible to learn to think more positively and approach tasks and setbacks with a brighter attitude. The trick is in how to change your mindset.

For years, many authors and speakers have emphasized the power of daily affirmations, or repetition of phrases such as “I am smart,” or maybe, “today is the first day of the rest of my life.” Although these steps work better than repeating negative thoughts internally or out loud, author David A. Fields, who wrote Guide to Winning Clients (Morgan James Publishing, 2017), says affirmations are a waste of time.

Fields gives two reasons why he believes the practice fails: Although a person might repeat positive affirmations, the affirmations only work if the individual truly believes in the positive message. Otherwise, it’s a regular opportunity to doubt oneself, and eventually introduce negative thoughts, the opposite of what the affirmation should accomplish. Secondly, always trying to quash negative feedback with positive affirmations can prevent learning from one’s mistakes, an essential success factor as leaders learn to persevere.


So, how can you or potential self-starters in your organization improve your positive thinking? Try these five tips from Success Factors Inc:

  1. Start with a vision. Instead of an affirmation, work on your vision. That is, consider your dreams and create a clear picture of what you want to achieve in life, or what a team can achieve at work. Ask as many detailed questions as necessary to get to the inner vision that works best for you and align it with the vision of your organization if you can. By building on this visual, positive start, you can more easily persevere during setbacks. Vision inspires possibilities!
  2. Use your vision and positive mindset to tackle issues head on. With a clear vision in mind, you can map out your plan for success and address decisions and issues with the positive image of where you’re headed. For example, if your vision is to be head of your department in five years, every major decision you make or action you take should support that vision. Having a vision might make you think twice before reacting negatively or ignoring a problem you must tackle.
  3. Deal with challenges by deciding what’s possible vs. what could go wrong. There are two ways to approach challenges and obstacles. One is to accept defeat, and the other is to list possibilities for making it better. And willingness to take calculated risks, another success factor, requires seeing possibility in a situation.
  4. Use constructive feedback. Spread your positive approach with those who can help you reach your vision. This works best when you provide constructive feedback that leads all your team in the same direction instead of criticizing out of frustration. Few people succeed with no help at all!
  5. Create a culture of positive thinking and success. The only way an organization can continue to succeed is with a culture that approaches the business, clients and setbacks positively. Leaders set the tone for the productivity of their workers by rewarding hard work and showing how it pays off, for instance. Culture plays a huge role in helping everyone on a team or in an organization work together toward a common vision. And if you’re the manager who sets the tone, you’re well on your way to personal success.

Give us a call at 425-485-3221 today to discuss how we can help with your positive mindset. We would love to help you!

Learn How to Roll with Rejection

By nature, successful self-starters receive much of their motivation from within, and typically have a refined inner vision. They’re positive people who take risks. Still, rejection can be a powerful force that can knock down the best of us, whether we’re rejected in personal matters or in the business world.

A few industries in particular expose hard workers to repeated rejection. Think of acting, the music business and authorship. But select people make it anyway, mostly because they persevere. In the business world, a positive approach helps managers and employees focus on the reason for the rejection or setback, which often has nothing to do with the individual’s skills or ideas, and certainly isn’t personal.

Rolling with rejection means realizing that having doors slammed in your face or receiving “no thank you” letters usually has more to do with timing, the business or the pure volume of requests (how many people do you know who bang away at the “perfect mystery novel” on weekends?)

Sure, there are times when you’re passed over for a promotion or to participate on a pet project. Look at these as learning opportunities and added incentive to succeed the next time. Those who persevere remain motivated, even learning from setbacks, and continue to step out on a limb. They say “yes” when those with fear hesitate or say, “no.”

And if you lead a team or own a business, you want to encourage perseverance when you spot the trait in a manager or frontline employee. People who show the quality of rolling with rejection can help your business succeed when inevitable factors such as new competition or changing supply and demand affect your product or service success.

You can assess your own and your employees’ tendency to roll with rejection through our self-assessment. We’ll also help you polish your perseverance or boost the skills in key players from your organization. Find out more about our Miller Success Factors Assessment  or give us a call at 425-485-3221

Engage Employees from the Inside Out

Unemployment is low, and in some industries, it’s tough to find workers with specialized skills and education. It can be even harder to retain top talent and those who show success factor traits. One way to keep valued employees engaged is to motivate them from the inside out, or by using intrinsic motivation.

In other words, perks like bonuses and salary increases can help retain employees, but it takes more to really engage them, keeping them interested, motivated and passionate about their jobs. Here are a few ways to keep valued workers engaged and on the road to personal – and therefore organizational – success:

Feed their knowledge. Many valued managers and workers want to learn — more about your company, industry or even how to manage. And with knowledge comes confidence and passion. In other words, if an employee shows interest in a product, project or developing a new skill, cultivating that interest can lead to renewed passion for their work and add to your team or company success. If you balk at the cost of reimbursing employees for tuition, sending them to appropriate conferences or providing training like our Fast Track to Success program, consider the cost of losing an employee. Aside from the expenses related to turnover, you lose intangible value, such as the passion and desire the employee demonstrated.

Empower them with responsibility. Your best employees want to feel like they are part of the success of your organization. They don’t want to feel like a powerless cog in the wheel, but instead want to help improve how the wheel turns! Empower employees to make some decisions without constant scrutiny, and they will reward you with an engaged passion for their work, resulting in new ideas and improved motivation and attitude.

Recognize achievement. You don’t need formal employee recognition programs to recognize small and large successes. Sometimes, just stopping by to tell an employee he or she did a great job on a recent task or project is all the motivation that employee needs to feel valued and stay engaged in their work. Often, by making a habit of telling people they are doing a good job (without going overboard and seeming insincere), managers can have the most dedicated and successful teams. You also can recognize employee efforts by telling others about their achievements or simply by pointing out to the employee how their decision/actions positively affected the company’s goals and bottom line.

Want to foster intrinsic motivation in your employees? We can help. Call us today 425-485-3221.


Manage with Passion, not Fear

Online searches reveal plenty of articles about dealing with difficult, mean or moody bosses. Have you ever wondered whether those in your charge have sought such advice? If there’s a chance, it’s time to take stock in your management style.

It’s possible that many people in management roles, whether for lack of maturity or personal experience, think that they should take a more authoritarian approach to dealing with others. There might be some truth to that, at least to the extent that a boss must make tough decisions and walk the fine line between upper management and front-line workforce.

But is it really necessary to adopt a persona that generates fear and loathing? I maintain a resounding “NO!” Fear certainly can motivate. Consider a health scare that pushes a person to lose weight or eat better, for example. But, like with dieting, the best approach is a long-term strategy. In the long run, do you want employees to worry every time they’re called into your office, talk about your meanness behind your back or simply move on to another workplace because they can’t handle your management style?

A boss who corrects through threats and intimidation doesn’t develop his or her employees, keep them engaged, or even keep them around. A bad mood can spread like wildfire in a department or company, affecting employee production, engagement and success. And remember, successful employees help managers reach their goals and appear successful as well. In a 2012 workplace survey from the American Psychological Association, about one fourth of workers cited problems with a supervisor as a contributor to stress, and 36 percent said they had uncertain or undefined job expectations.  Even worse, employees in fear-based workplaces worry about whether they’ll have a job next week; this kind of uncertainty does not lend itself to engagement or creativity in the workplace.

There’s no doubt that being a manager is stressful as well, and that some events and problems just cause bad moods. But every manager should recognize the role he or she plays in setting the tone. Those with passion and vision are more likely to see the need to minimize the trickling of negativity down the line of command and lift all employees up. It’s up to managers to help their team members understand the broader vision of the company, department or team and how the individual worker’s responsibilities relate to that vision.

Competent managers also instill passion and enthusiasm, especially by modeling passion and job commitment. You can start by simply smiling more and by taking time to be honest and open with employees, especially when correcting problems. Encourage employees to improve their performance without berating them. If you need help bringing more passion and less fear to your workplace, give Success Factors a call. We can help. Call us today (425-485-3221).


Follow this Japanese Proverb for Success

A clear vision of success is critical for any individual or company to succeed. It underlies purpose, strategy and values.

Executives, managers and individual employees need to be clear on the company vision and values, letting them guide decisions, engagement and consistent operations and priorities.

Most of all, a vision is more than some words on an internal memo or graphic. And this Japanese proverb sums up just how critical a vision is to success:

Vision without action is daydream

Action without vision is nightmare

Although this historical quotation speaks for itself, let’s break it down:

Any individual, team or organization can have a vision. But without a plan to reach the vision, and especially acting on the plan, the vision really is just a daydream, a wish. Successful self-starters put their vision to work. And the other big two success factors, passion and perseverance, help turn vision into action. For example, passion inspires, and having a passionate vision energizes. When employees share the passion for your work and vision, they remain more engaged and ultimately more successful. And it’s important to persevere when faced with obstacles or setbacks. Perseverance sets a person or team back on track.

Of course, what track do you jump back onto if you have no vision or direction?

Action without a vision leaves you rudderless, without direction. It’s like wandering in circles, with no end goal in site. You might have small successes, but likely will face more setbacks. Taking time to develop a vision statement paves the way for steady progress. A clear vision also provides a point at which leaders, managers and employees can refocus.

At Success Factors Inc., we help leaders and teams craft a vision for successful initiatives and develop a Success Strategy and Milestone Timeline, helping to maintain a vision for all actions and outline planned steps, or actions, to achieve the vision for an initiative.

Find out how you can create a passionate vision for project, individual or organization success from Success Factors Inc. And most importantly, let us help coach you and your team on the actions that bring your vision to life.

Learn more at ( or take action and call us today (425-485-3221).

Passion Fires Up Perseverance

An early season baseball game. A passionate objection, then an ejection. And ultimately, a win.

An April 16 baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers showed how passion can fire up perseverance in one’s self – or in an entire team.

Mariners manager Scott Servais was upset by a call (or more accurately, a call reversal) in the bottom of the sixth inning. Servais ran from the dugout and had a “few words” with officials, who tossed him from the game.

The coach’s actions might have been seen as extreme had things gone the other way and the Mariners had lost the game. But his show of passion and support for his team gave a boost to the players, helping them persevere and win the game. As outfielder Jarrod Dyson told the Seattle Times, “When skip got tossed, that fired everyone else up.”

In the business world, bosses can’t just storm into the board room when something happens that seems unfair to their staff team. But a little passion can go a long way. Employees are much more likely to trust, follow and engage with the passionate manager who has their backs. And sometimes, a little burst of passion fires you up as well. Here are a few ways that passion helps members of your organization at every level:

  • Executives: Passion creates a powerful sense of purpose and excitement, which can engage employees.
  • Managers: Demonstrates enthusiasm for organization vision, mission and values. Models commitment to the job and the team.
  • Employees: Demonstrates commitment to and engagement in employee accountabilities.

Keep your team fired up by channeling positive passion to help teams and individuals persevere through competition or setbacks. We can help. Learn more about our services, including our Fast Track to Success program, that can spot, foster and formalize passion in you, your managers and your employees. Call us today (425-485-3221).

Just Do It: Business Mantras

There’s more to the famous Nike tagline, “Just do it,” than encouraging people to pay for cool shoes. The phrase subtly hints at performing, persevering and following one’s vision, the Big Three Success Factors. And Ekaterina Walker says in this article from Forbes  that “Just Do It” also is one of the best business mantras she’s seen. Why? Because it speaks to the urgency of getting things done, being the best and the first.

Mantras are concise messages that a person can repeat internally to calm or motivate. Teams and other groups also have mantras, mottos or messages, that help them persevere, thrive and succeed. A mantra should be brief and create a positive visual or action. Well-crafted mantras can support or summarize a company mission and vision. Here are a few examples from sports and business:

  • Duke University basketball coach Mike Kryzewski (Coach K) has won five national championships with various teams and more than 1,000 total victories. He has an effective mantra called “next play” that lifts players following an error and maintains their focus on the next play to come. It can keep them from lingering too long on negative thoughts about what could have gone wrong and puts focus back on the present. Wouldn’t it be great if every business could adopt a “next play” philosophy? It’s OK for leaders and employees to evaluate mistakes and learn from them. But those mistakes shouldn’t guide everyday work – teams should focus on the present and future.
  • Apple’s mantra of “Think different” reinforces a culture focuses on creativity. Regardless of whether your business is in the tech sector, it never hurts to support and reward innovation, such as new ways to deliver products, filling gaps in customer needs or simply working more efficiently.
  • Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson used his father’s past question regarding his NFL dreams of “Why not you?” to help motivate his team with “Why not us?” and Wilson helped lead the Seahawks in their 2014 Super Bowl win. Sure, we can’t credit the mantra for all of the team’s success, but it’s a great example of future vision. Further, it helps focus on actions to solve problems rather than complaining about a situation. (“Somebody has to take the lead on improving morale on the team. Why not me?”)
  • Google’s “Don’t be evil” mantra paints an excellent picture for staying on track and doing the right thing. Developed by engineer Amit Patel, the phrase has guided everything from keeping search engine results based on algorithms instead of sales to human resources department values.


Mantras don’t have to be catchy, but a catchy phrase might be easier to remember. Use brainstorming to develop your own company mantra. Chances are that your mantra is evident within your mission and vision or in recent strategy documents. Choose concise words that help employees focus and stay inspired. If you need help developing a personal or team mantra, contact Success Factors Inc. (  (425-485-3221).