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Thursday’s Thoughts on Leadership: Creating a Cadence of Accountability

InteroMojo - 10 hours 13 min ago

Good leaders strive to improve themselves every day. Great leaders strive to improve themselves and those around them, applying this philosophy to every idea they formulate and every decision they make. Great real estate leaders understand the importance of building a culture of managers and agents who seek to be more productive, more efficient and, in turn, more successful professionals. And great leaders understand that one of the most motivating factors to success is oftentimes accountability. Why? Because when performance is measured, performance improves. Without accountability, many of our good ideas and intentions remain just ideas and intentions. With accountability, we’re able to put them into action.

However, accountability does not mean sending an email or making a phone call. Instead, accountability is any number of activities that must be woven into the regular rhythm of the business day, week and year. These initiatives form a regular cadence of accountability that your employees will adapt to and, ultimately, expect.

In my own business practices, I used daily progress reports, monthly commitments and weekly calls—happening twice per week on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons—for this purpose, which allowed managers the opportunity to identify their goals and keep on track to achieve them. Additionally, I paired employees with an accountability partner, someone to whom they must report the status of any stated objectives, as well as any recent accomplishments. Lastly, I instituted contests that grouped employees into teams. Accountability reigns through teams, as each member is responsible for the group’s performance.

In his recent bestseller, Unbeatable Mind, retired SEAL Commander and author Mark Divine has this to say about the importance of teams: “Elevate the team above the individual, and hold the team accountable to that standard. Watch your team performance and attitude improve dramatically, which will positively impact performance in all other areas.”

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D.C. Circuit’s “COOL” Decision Eases Government’s Burden in Justifying Compelled Speech

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 3:00pm
If government wants to force you to say something you would not otherwise express, it must have a very good reason for doing so. This bedrock First Amendment principle applies to individuals and business enterprises alike. In July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit—arguably the nation’s second most important federal court—carved away […]
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Monday Morning Mojo: What’s your BHAG?

InteroMojo - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 7:30am

So…what is your Big Hairy Audacious Goal? Perhaps the better question is do you have one? I sure hope so, but if not now is the time to set one.

Some of you may be asking yourself “what the heck is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)?” The term ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’ was proposed by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1994 book entitled Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. In the book they define a BHAG as a strategic business statement similar to a vision statement which is created to focus an organization on a single medium-long term organization-wide goal which is audacious, likely to be externally questionable, but not internally regarded as impossible.

Now you can have a BHAG in business or anyone of the areas in your life. It just needs to be something that fires you and gets you charged up to get your butt out of bed every day before the suns comes up so you can go out and conquer the world. It can be in anyone of the areas of your F5 – Faith, Family, Friends Fitness and Finance. It may be that you want to complete a triathlon…you may want to go on a mission in some far off place to help save lives…you may want to get married… it may be that you want to start a family…you may want to buy that dream home…you may want to take your company public…it may be that you just want to make a pile of money. Whatever it is, we all need to have at least one BHAG in our life that fires us up. I know we have a BHAG for Intero and it is hanging in my office. I actually have BHAG’s in a lot of the areas of my life.

I see so many people every day just going through the motions…people wandering around in a daze not really crystal clear on what it is they want. They may just want things to get better or be different, but they never take the time to define what that better or different is…they just hope they are going to bump into it or something.

So, what is that BAG in your life? What do you dream about but never tell anyone because it is so big you are too embarrassed to even tell anyone? Yeah…that’s the one…the one that puts a smile on your face when you think about it. So often when we have these dreams….these Big Hairy Audacious Goals in our life we think they are just too hard…too far off…impossible to accomplish. Well listen…it really does not matter what your BHAG is there is someone out there in the world that wakes up every day just like you, and puts one sock on at a time just like you that has it. So…why not you?

My challenge to all of you this week is to take some time to create your BHAG or BHAG’s. Once you have created them build a staircase to get yourself there. Figure out exactly what you need to do to accomplish it. Then break those tasks down into small bite size chucks or stairs on a staircase that will lead to your BHAG. What you will discover is that if you really sit down and figure out what it is going to take to accomplish your BHAG and then create the steps to get you there, most of the time it’s not as hard as you think. The key is you need to get it out of your head and on to a piece of paper, in a schedule and then you need to execute on it every day. Just take a bite…take one step and before you know it you will be at the top of the staircase savoring in your BHAG. It’s not always going to be easy but if you want it bad enough and you don’t ever give up, you will get it.

Have a great week and GO FOR IT!!!!!

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Weekend Wellness: Just Move

InteroMojo - Sat, 08/23/2014 - 9:00am

How often have you had a minor injury or pain in your body and felt unable to workout? Even something as common as a cold, or you slept wrong and had a “kink” in your neck, or maybe you simply had a stressed day and was just “not in the mood” to move…are all days that we feel less than capable to be our best.

Maybe you are a mover and shaker, but you have a bigger injury like a broken wrist or even leg; or you have a strained muscle.

Each of these body issues are just that; issues to deal with. Some of us stay quiet, accept the body and move on, but I venture to say many more of us let these obstacles stop us cold from movement in general. We complain, we make bigger excuses (which feel very real to us) of why we don’t feel good and we create huge stories about why life has now stopped as we know it.

I can tell you from personal experience, I have had all of the above issues. In each issue from the stressed day to the broken leg, I felt defeated at moments. I can tell you too, that once I got over my issue/obstacle and excuses and realized the rest of my body was able to move pretty darn well, I felt empowered that I could move…even in the tiniest ways.

You see, it’s all perspective. It’s acceptance and it’s embracing where we are in each place and time, as well as fighting to stay healthy.

I had this talk with a fitness friend earlier today and she said it simply…”just move…no matter how little or big…move.”

I know someone who cannot move, and he would give anything to be able to. Not being able to move is an unimaginable concept and one I am eternally grateful that, hopefully, I will never feel. Knowing him though, does help me love what I can do, big or small.

So when we have issues, do what you can, let the oxygen flow through your body, feel the strength of your muscles, rotate your body to see different perspectives, stretch to feel the fascia and gently assist your injured areas towards health. Doing this helps the body…as well as the soul and mind. Move what you can, do what you can…but somehow, keep moving.

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Intero Cool Apps: Stand Out with Animated Videos

InteroMojo - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 9:00am

As Realtors, getting your name and services out there is super important to succeeding at your business. In today’s day and age of internet, this task is at your fingertips. That’s right, between your circle of friends on facebook to your twitter followers, your next client could be anywhere. Now the question is: How are you going to make them see you?

In a daily social media stream of thousands of posts, pictures and videos are what catches your eye. Why is that? Less work for you. Why would you want to read text when a picture says a thousand words? Or you can be entertained with a video?

Well we’ve already showed you how to make those impressive, eye catching images using Canva so today we’re going to show you an app that will help you make some stellar entertaining videos.

Wideo is an online tool that allows you to easily make animation videos for, well basically anything (presentations, teaching lessons, promotions, for fun, etc). The site is super intuitive which makes it possible for anyone to create cool videos.

The instant I saw this app I thought “what a great way for agents to promote themselves.” Just think about it, everyone has a bio written up but, let’s be honest, who is actually going to read through the whole thing? With Wideo, you can turn your bio into a quick video just by highlighting a few key points about yourself and your business (ie: what you can offer and what makes you so great). Use one of Wideo’s already made templates, plug in the text and you’ll have a nice little promotional video about yourself in minutes.

Use this as an advertisement on facebook or embed it onto your website. It’s so much more interesting than reading a written bio and, I promise, it will help you stand out from the crowd!

Check out the sample video below to see what your next promotion could look like:

Click Here To Play

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Unemployed by ObamaCare

Education & the Workforce Committee - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 12:00am
The president’s policies are hurting working families, and a leading culprit is the fatally flawed health care law. In September, Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) will hold a field hearing in Indiana to examine ObamaCare's impact on schools and workplaces across the Hoosier state. Members at the hearing will have a lot to discuss. The Wall Street Journal explores the latest evidence of how workers and job creators are struggling thanks to the president’s health care law:
   

Most of the political class seems to have decided that ObamaCare is working well enough, the opposition is fading, and the subsidies and regulation are settling in as the latest wing of the entitlement state. This flight from reality can't last forever, especially as the evidence continues to pile up that the law is harming the labor market.

On Thursday the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported the results of a special business survey on the Affordable Care Act and its influence on employment, compensation and benefits. Liberals claim ObamaCare is of little consequence to jobs, but the Philly Fed went to the source and asked employers qualitative questions about how they are responding in practice.

The bank reports that 78.8% of businesses in the district have made no change to the number of workers they employ as the specific result of ObamaCare and 3% are hiring more. More troubling, 18.2% are cutting jobs and employees. Some 18% shifted the composition of their workforce to a higher proportion of part-time labor. And 88.2% of the roughly half of businesses that modified their health plans as a result of ObamaCare passed along the costs through increasing the employee contribution to premiums, an effective cut in wages.

Those results are consistent with a New York Fed survey, also out this week, that asked "How, if at all, are you changing (or have you changed) any of the following because of the effects that the ACA is having on your business?" For "number of workers you employ," 21% of Empire State manufacturers and 16.9% of service firms answered "reducing."

To complete the triptych, an Atlanta Fed poll earlier this month found that 34% of businesses planned to hire more part-time workers than in the past, mostly because of a rise in the relative costs of their full-time colleagues. ObamaCare may be contributing to that surge to the extent the law's insurance mandates and taxes increase spending on fringe benefits for people who work more than 30 hours.

Liberals will dismiss this as merely anecdotal or of minor impact, but it makes sense that ObamaCare's labor effects would be concentrated in some industries with relatively low-wage or marginal workers. The data points also help explain why the number of people employed part-time surged by 12% during the recession but the rate hasn't fallen even as the economy has improved. Or why labor force participation is the lowest since the late 1970s.

Chief White House economist Jason Furman put out a report in July that attempted to explain this collapse in the share of Americans working. He attributed about half the decline to an aging population and a sixth to the conventional expected result of the downturn. But he simply threw up his hands and assigned a third of the responsibility to an "unexplained" category.

Our view is that Mr. Furman's gnomes were wrong to gloss over government-fueled labor distortions like ObamaCare. People are responding at least in part to the incentives to work fewer hours or not at all, as the research of University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan on marginal tax rates has shown. But there are also simply fewer jobs available that would have been created in the past, as the Fed surveys show.

Slow growth is the great tragedy of the Obama Presidency, and maybe these findings will eventually get past the liberal Iron Dome of only positive thoughts. 

Thursday’s Thoughts On Leadership: Trust Is Vital

InteroMojo - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 11:59am

Strong leaders understand the essential nature of trust. My recent travels took me to Orlando, Florida and the 2014 Brookfield Forum for relocation professionals, where Stephen M.R. Covey delivered a terrific keynote on the economics of trust and the cores of credibility. It reminded me of Covey’s 2009 book, The Speed of Trust, and his simple formula for how trust impacts transactions between individuals and organizations.

In short:

  • Increased Trust = Increased Speed and Decreased Cost

And, conversely:

  • Decreased Trust = Decreased Speed and Increased Cost

Trust is vital to any relationship and relationships built on trust flourish. A breach of trust will tarnish reputations and cause transactions to fail.

Without question, trustworthiness must be given the highest priority. I was reminded of this just recently while listening to Unbeatable Mind, the brand-new book by former Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine. In Unbeatable Mind, Divine offers five simple steps to ensure trustworthiness:

  1. Always meet your commitments
  2. Do more than is expected
  3. Do things faster than expected
  4. Achieve better results than expected
  5. Do all of the above with integrity and with little fanfare

Clean and simple … these are great steps for better business and better living.

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***MEDIA ADVISORY*** Roe to Hold Indiana Field Hearing on Health Care Challenges Facing Schools and Workplaces

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 12:00am

On Thursday, September 4, at 10:00 a.m., Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) will hold a field hearing entitled, “The Effects of the President’s Health Care Law on Indiana’s Classrooms and Workplaces.” The hearing will take place at Greenfield City Hall, 10 South State Street, Greenfield, Indiana.

Across the country, workers and employers are struggling with the consequences of the president’s health care law. For example, in response to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, businesses generally expect health care costs to increase by 10 percent next year and a majority cited the health care law as the reason. The survey also revealed the law was leading employers to raise the number of part-time employees, lower employee compensation, and increase consumer prices. 

The House Education and the Workforce Committee is examining how many of these same consequences are affecting the nation’s K-12 and higher education systems. Through testimony and the committee’s YourStory initiative, school leaders have shared stories of health care costs going up and staff work-hours being cut.

The field hearing will provide members an opportunity to learn how the health care law is affecting Indiana’s schools and workplaces. For more information about the field hearing, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/hearings. Media interested in attending the field hearing must RSVP to Liz Hill at liz.hill@mail.house.gov

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FDA’s Legally-Suspect Shift of Clinical Lab Test Regulation Through Guidance Documents

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 10:53am
Guest Commentary by Gail Javitt, Sidley Austin LLP* The penchant of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use “guidance” documents as a means to effectuate substantive regulatory change may have reached its zenith on July 31, 2014, when FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health announced its intent to issue two new draft guidances. […]
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Supreme Court’s “Executive Benefits” Bankruptcy Ruling Provides a Practical Solution to a “Stern” Problem

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 3:43pm
Guest Commentary by Dee Wallander, a 2014 Judge K.K. Legett Fellow at the Washington Legal Foundation and a student at Texas Tech University School of Law. In an overlooked but practically significant decision from its October 2013 term, Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified the procedural impact of its 2011 […]
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Washington Post Parrots Activists’ Skewed Spin of FDA’s “GRAS” Process

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 10:25am
Just below the fold in the print and digital versions of this morning’s Washington Post blares the headline “Food additives on the rise as FDA scrutiny wanes.” The story dutifully advances the perspective of professional activists that the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) process for food additives is perilously broken. […]
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Monday Morning Mojo: Stay Calm

InteroMojo - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 7:30am

Living in Silicon Valley is akin to going 200 miles an hour with your hair on fire. It is an exciting, inspiring and amazing place to live and work, but it is also incredibly competitive and intense. In every industry you are going head to head with the best of the best in the world doing whatever it takes to get the edge and win. As a result it can also be an incredibly stressful place if you don’t know how to manage it. So, the question is, how do you manage it and stay calm because your ability to manager your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. I was reading a great article a few weeks back titled How Successful People Stay Calm. After checking it out I knew it was mojo material so today I’m sharing it with you. Here are the ten best strategies to stay calm:

  1. Appreciate What You Have – Take time daily to contemplate what you’re grateful for. Research shows that people who work daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experience improved mood, energy, and physical well-being.
  2. Avoid Asking “What if?” – This statement is like throwing fuel on the fire of stress and worry. Things can go a million different directions and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend focusing on taking action. Calm people know that asking “what if?” will only take them to a place they don’t want or need to go.
  3. Stay Positive – Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free. When things are going poorly, and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, this can be a challenge. In these moments, think about your day or week and identify one positive thing that happened, no matter how small. You must have something positive that you’re ready to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative.
  4. Disconnect – When you make yourself available 24/7 it is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment…you are exposing yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and turning off your phone (gulp) gives your body a break and lowers stress levels. This is a super tough one in Silicon Valley and one definitely need to work on myself.
  5. Limit the Caffeine intake – Another brutal one for me. Caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline which is a “fight-or-flight” response. This kind of a response sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but no so great when you’re responding to a curt email.
  6. Sleep – When you sleep your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them so you wake up alert and clear-headed. Not getting a decent night’s sleep is often the one thing keeping you from getting things under control. Snooze!
  7. Squash Negative Self Talk – Don’t be a Debbie Downer. The more you squander in negative thoughts the more power you give them. Remember that most thoughts are just that…thoughts, not facts. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural threat tendency inflating the perceived frequency or severity of an event. You can bet that your statements or thought aren’t true any time you use words like “never”, “worst”, “ever”, etc.
  8. Reframe your perspective – You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. Before you spend too much time dwelling on something negative, take a minute to put the situation in perspective. When you start thinking or saying things like “Everything is going wrong” or “Nothing will work out,” then you need to reframe the situation.
  9. Breathe – This is the easiest way to control your stress. The practice of being in the moment with your breathing will begin to train your brain to focus solely on the task at hand and get the stress monkey off your back. Close the door, put away all other distraction and just sit in a chair and breathe…focus on your breathing.
  10. Use your support system –It’s tempting, but entirely ineffective, to tackling everything yourself. To be calm and productive we need to recognize our weaknesses and ask for help. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on your team, rooting for you, and ready to help. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation. Asking for help will not only reduce your stress but it will strengthen your relationships with those you rely on. I always say it shows your strength when you ask for help and shows weakness when you don’t.

I don’t know about you but I know I have some work to do.

Be fired up, but stay calm and CRUSH IT!!!!!

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Weekend Wellness: Top 10 Things Taken For Granted

InteroMojo - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 9:00am

The other day, I heard the list below, read to me by one of my teachers. I don’t know if I was in “that” space to where it hit me hard, or it’s just a beautiful piece. Regardless, I feel compelled to share! I don’t know who wrote it, how this was researched, or even when this was researched; however I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Top 10 things people claim to have taken for granted when they were alive:

10) How important they were to SO many

9) How easy life was when they stopped struggling and fighting

8) That all their prayers and thoughts were heard

7) That there really were no coincidences

6) How far ripples of their kindness actually spread (* my personal favorite!)

5) What really was important…happiness, friends and love

4) That any and all of their dreams could have come true had they wanted it badly enough

3) How good looking and fun they always were if they would have just relaxes

2) How much guidance they received whenever they asked for help

1) That “life” is in everything, everywhere, especially themselves.

Enjoy! Who are you important to? What dreams do you have? Where has your kindness spread? Do you ask for help? Where do you see life?

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Intero Cool Apps: A Smarter Sprinkler System

InteroMojo - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 9:00am

Saving water has been a big concern here in California, as well as other parts of the country, this year. While some people have been holding off on watering anything in their yard to conserve water, others are letting their sprinkles go for hours. Both are hard to watch in this time of water uncertainty so to help with that, today we’re adding one more app to your suite of smart home controls; one specifically designed to monitor your irrigation system.

Greenbox is a sprinkler control system that uses your smart phone to program and optimize your watering schedule.

Setting it up is easy. Just install the Greenbox controller right next to your current analog one. Through this controller, you can control up to 8 zones of your yard. Download the app and your irrigation system is at your fingertips. Label each zone and even take a picture of the area so you know exactly where that zone is.

Use your phone to set up your watering schedule and adjust timing as you wish for each zone. The app will optimize your watering programs using a proprietary irrigation algorithm so your grass and plants get exactly the amount of water they need.

Using location-based weather data, Greenbox will send you notifications about upcoming changes in the weather so you can update your watering schedule if needed. You can even set up the app to automatically turn off if there’s any sign of rain. That means no more wasted watering in the middle of a rainstorm!

Be the first in your neighborhood with a smart sprinkler system by ordering your Greenbox today. The devices are $249.00 each and will ship this fall.

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