Today is the day!

I am speaking at 10:45am, Phoenix, AZ time at the #RFMA2018 Annual Conference.

The topic is “How to make things better when you are too busy.”

Public speaking has been a goal of mine since I was a kid. It’s both exciting and intimidating to actually be doing it.

Almost 6 years ago, I was in a mentoring group where we had to give a 5 minute talk to 5 other people at a retreat. It was recorded.

I stood in front of the group. The camera started. I froze. Nothing came out of my mouth for what felt like the entire time.

In dealing with the embarrassment of the who ordeal, I learned something about myself and about speaking in front of people.

You see, I went up in front of that group with only myself in mind. I wanted them to think I was smart, insightful, and motivating. I bombed.

Speaking is about helping other people. It’s about teaching what you know. It’s not about the speaker. It’s about the audience. That monumental change in focus helped me take the fear out of getting in front of people and sharing what’s in my head.

That being said, I am nervous. I have never been in front of this many people. Yet this time, the nerves are exhilarating. What I am going to share changed my business. It changed my work ethic. It has made things possible that would not have been possible…including today where I am taking the first step towards a dream I have had for a very long time.

Let’s go!

Do It Now

If you think about doing something, do it right then and there.

Something powerful happens when you don’t borrow time from later.

The first, and most obvious benefit, is you get whatever it is you just thought about done. When you set something aside for later, you probably won’t do it. So in turn, you will get more done because you starve out procrastination.

The second benefit is you will build up confidence and positivity. You won’t allow yourself to second guess and talk yourself out of doing something. While working lifts your mood, being idle brings you down. Completing something makes you feel good. You don’t spend any time regretting not doing something.

I try to do the same thing every morning. Get up at 5am. Brush my teeth. Exercise. Get ready. Read my Bible. Journal and write a blog post. Work on social (yes work, not consume). Start work.

It’s not easy to get up at 5am. I can always talk myself into getting back into bed. But, having a routine allows me to be productive without putting too much thought into what needs to be done. It builds discipline and the habit of productivity through the routine. It trains my mind to “do it right then and there” instead of giving room to talk myself out of doing the work.

On days where I successfully work through this routine, I am more productive. On days where I don’t, I tend to wonder throughout the day. I think this is because both good decisions and bad decisions build on each other.

The rest of the day, if I need to call someone and I am not in a meeting, I call them. If I need to coach an employee, I coach them. Whatever it is, I work on doing it right then.

I will end with this. While I am getting better at this and becoming more productive. I still fail often. I still procrastinate. I still will crawl back in bed for “5 more minutes.” But those times are becoming less frequent than they used to be.

Build A No Hiding Culture

Startup Business People Working on Laptop

Accountability can be one of the hardest things to get right when running a company. While there are number of reasons why I started a company, the root of it all is that I am an ambitious person who wants to accomplish and succeed. It was put there in me, and I can’t shake it.

Being ambitious can put you on an island. Not everyone is wired the same way. And as much as I am ambitious, I also care for people. I want to treat them well.

When it comes to accountability, I fight this battle in my head. Do I push, or do I create room to grow? I think it can be both.

One solution to this problem is to only surround myself with ambitious people. People who want something for themselves see opportunity in executing on company goals because doing so will get them closer to their goals.

Another is I can either inspire ambition and feed it by setting a target and holding people accountable for hitting the targets. Both options are viable. The second option opens up more doors, especially with the workforce trends in the marketplace where there is very jaded and uninspired generation of people becoming the largest segment fo the workforce.

I have to create a culture where people can’t hide. This is probably one of the biggest mistakes I have made in running my company. I assume that everyone is wired like me. The reality is they will think things are important that I care nothing about and ignore the things I think are important. It’s not deliberate. It’s just because they are wired differently.

In order to have accountability, I have to do 2 things.

First, I have to teach what’s important.

Second, I have to follow up to make sure those things are being executed on.

The more important, the more often they need to be followed up on.

Because in order to execute on a vision and dream, my company culture must have accountability. I have to set the expectation. I have to make it clear that when the expectation is not met, it is NOT OK. This can be uncomfortable for people, especially if they are hiding. But this is how to keep people from being able to hide.

The questions I need to be constantly asking, answering, and executing on are as these:

  1. How to I push people to grow without hurting their spirit/positivity/etc.
  2. How do I teach people to be ambitious, and should I only hire ambitious people?
  3. What is really important to me and to the company?
  4. What do I need to follow up on more deliberately?
  5. Who do I need to talk to because their lack of ambition is hurting their future at my company?

I can’t afford to have a culture where people can hide. I can’t have a culture that is brought down by unambitious team members. I can’t have a team of people who do not know what is important. In order to execute on this, I need to set clear expectations of what is acceptable and unacceptable (including having ambition). I need to decide on what I want to follow up on, and then relentlessly follow up on it.

Today did not go as planned…

I started a company because I wanted to great a great place for people to work.

I wanted to people to be free to organize their schedules, be the family members, parents, etc. they needed to be.

This has freed my team to show up for friends who needed them. Work from home when a kid was sick or a contractor is coming to their house. Pursue hobbies and whatever else.

The only thing I ask for in return is that they put everything they have professionally into their jobs.

I chose to work from home today because no one was going to the in the office. With all my kids at school, it was going to be a good opportunity to work in a different environment, uninterrupted, and get some of the creative and thinking work done that I have been unable to get done.

Then, my youngest got sick first thing this morning. Enter distraction, and my day getting thrown off course.

It would be easy to grow frustrated over this, but the reality is being available for times like this is the literal reason I wanted to work for myself and run my company the way that I do.

I am grateful, and today I was able to reconnect to the freedom and the environment I provide for my team because I benefited from it myself.

So while today was not what I hoped it would be, it is still a major win.

Daily Routine

iPad calendar

The reason I wanted a daily routine is to optimize my time, energy level, and focus. I have a wife, 4 kids, run a company, coach baseball, volunteer at my church, and I have hobbies and interests (mostly reading/learning). What happens is these all pull at my time. I get distracted and unintentional. This leads me to end up wasting time.

This is the schedule I have been trying out for the last week. It’s inspired by 3 resources.

Best Self Journal

Set weekly habits, daily objectives, plan out your day, write down what you are grateful for every morning and night.

Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual by Jocko Willink

Get up early…really early, work out every day, don’t eat sugar or carbs, use logical thinking to get through hard stuff, and use emotional thinking when logical thinking doesn’t work.

The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone

Set goals that are 10X bigger than what you think is possible, put in 10X the action you believe it will take to accomplish them, write out your goals every morning and every night.

Here is the schedule.

4:55am – Wake up and brush my teeth.

5:00am – Work out (alternating days of calisthenics and yoga).

5:45am – Shower, shave, dress.

6:00am – Make coffee, write goals, write gratitudes, and plan my day. I try to leave zero white space

6:30am – Read while drinking coffee, eat some protein if hungry. My youngest 2 sons are usually up by this time, so I will stop reading if they want my attention or are hungry. They are a priority over reading.

7:30am – Drive in to work while listening to an audio book.

8:00am – 5:00pm – Work. Most of my time is spent in sales and team training. I will grab lunch when there is time in my schedule.

5:00pm – Drive home while listening to an audio book.

5:30pm – Sit with my wife until it’s time to cook dinner. If it’s nice outside, we sit outside. I will usually join a game of kickball, basketball, or football with my kids and the neighborhood kids.

The rest of the night is less structured. I cook most of the time. It’s a stress release for me. The kids clean up the kitchen. We hangout, maybe watch a movie. The kids go to bed between 8:00pm and 9:00pm.

I go to sleep when I am tired, and always wake up at 4:55am the next morning no matter what.

I am still drinking a ton of coffee because I love it, and I balance it out with over 74 ounces of water.

So far, I have experienced higher and more stable energy levels as well as an overall better attitude.

Gratefulness vs. Desiring More

Scott sitting on coach writing goals

There has been a life long battle in my head between these ideas.

I desire more. Not in a negative way. I just always feel it can be better. I want to do better. I want more.

Then and the same time, I feel guilty that I am being ungrateful.

So for a long time I starved my dreams. I didn’t allow myself to push towards these things in my life that I want to accomplish. I would only take the incredible amount of action I needed to take to accomplish a goal when I was at risk of losing something I already have.

I would only take the incredible amount of action I needed to take to accomplish a goal when I was at risk of losing something I already have.

As a result, I cheated myself in the areas of focus and effort when progress in my life was happening outside of my control.

I have been challenged by several friends and mentors in my life. They saw this trend in my performance long before I recognized it. They would call it “fear of dreaming.” They would tell me, “Scott, you are great when you back is against the wall. You need to figure out how to channel that same level of execution when circumstances are on your side.”

The root cause of this issue has finally come to a head. Discontent and the fear of seeming ungrateful for my life have been at war in my subconscious. This has kept me in a place where I am great and protecting, but slow in achieving.

A daily practice has changed this for me. Starting in October of 2017, I started a daily practice to journal my gratitude and my goals every morning and every night. This forced me to allow what I am grateful for and what I desire to exist side by side. It’s connected me to goals and dreams I have buried in my mind. And it’s forced me to come face to face with reality.

Discontent, or really a strong desire of progress, is not at odds with gratitude. They exist in the same space. In fact, they fuel each other. I don’t need to feel guilty about wanting what I want in life anymore than I should tolerate negativity around what I have.

My dreams, goals, desires, and appetite to make things better than they are have been placed in me. I was created with these desires, and burying them will only push me into a dark place.

I hope this idea encourages you if you have ever felt guilty about pursuing your dreams. You’re free to be grateful and desire more in the same space. It’s ok. In fact, it’s the way you were created.

What are you doing to prepare for increasing skilled labor rates?

I am bullish on this topic which, is why I talk about it so much.

Maintenance repair rates are increasing and will continue to do so exponentially over the next 3-5 years.

  1. Repair contractors point to finding qualified people as the number 1 obstacle to running their businesses.
  2. They have to pay people more to attract them to their companies.
  3. As this problem increases…and it will for a period of at least 3-5 years…smaller repair contractors who aren’t able to command higher rates and pay hire wages are going to go out of business.
  4. This decreases the supply of contractors and increases demand…and rates…even higher.

Why am I telling you this?

Because the maintenance industry is too reactive. Because this reality is going to cause problems for those who don’t see it coming. And…because it’s going to affect your job as a facilities manager. It’s going to affect the skills you need in order to be effective. And…it’s going to affect the partners you choose to work with.

And you will need partners who act as an extension of your company instead of like a vendor.

You need partners to…

  • Compile new information daily so you aren’t blindsided by a setback.
  • Collect and analyze repair data. How will you find the root problems…the operational and personnel problems…that are leading to your maintenance issues.
  • Negotiate on your behalf…and I’m talking about more than pricing. You will have to negotiate to get your jobs scheduled first. You will have to negotiate to get someone to take you on as a customer. You will have negotiate on payment terms.
  • Look out for your best interests. When vendors believe they can get away with something, they will. What are you going to do when someone is overcharging, but they are your only option to get the work done immediately? Meanwhile, there are 4 other jobs under the same situation.

You have to start changing your mindset. You have to start looking down the road. Don’t wait. Stop reacting. Because if you don’t change, someone will come along who will.

The Life Skill of Persuasion

I put new training program in place a Envoy centered around persuasion. I believe this skill will bring the most impact to our organization because our success and failures lie in our ability to convince people to do what we need them to do for our customers–and then get them to actually do it.

The most biggest idea to understand when it comes to persuasion is: No matter what you do, you are in sales. You have to get over this. In order to succeed in life, you will have to convince others to believe in what you believe in or do what needs to be done.

How else will you…

  • convince a co-worker to help you on a project?
  • get a vendor to finish something on time?
  • keep your relationship healthy by making sure your partner stays sold on you?
  • get people around you have a positive attitude?
  • inspire people to follow your leadership and vision?
  • sell your product or service?
  • keep customers happy after they decide to buy?

What I am teaching my team, and the idea I am selling to you is you have to embrace and get comfortable with learning and practicing persuasion.

–Scott Reyes

Dealing With Change

I spent an hour this morning writing a letter to a friend who is starting his first  business venture. One of the topics I wrote about is change. I have received 2 very wise pieces of advice on dealing with change in my life. They have saved me from unnecessary stress, so I passed them along.

The first piece of advice is to make important decisions in advance. You must anticipate the best case and the worst case. What will you do? When you make the decision ahead of time, you can respond with a decision you have already made with logic. When you don’t make the decision ahead of time, you will react to the circumstance with emotion. Take time to think about what you will do if you lose a specific employee, or your kid gets in trouble, or you get an opportunity for a deal that is highly profitable but outside of your core business. Responding is better than reacting.

The second piece of advice is change is inevitable. You must both expect it and cause it. You will never prevent it. I wake up everyday and acknowledge the truth that something is likely going to blindside me. This allows me to work through change–hopefully with a decision I have made in advance. I also pay attention to what is changing and work to change in preparation. So when the change shows up, I am not angry about it. I can accept it, and respond. I can focus on what I can control which is enough to be able to navigate the change.

Can the iPad Pro 10.5 replace a laptop for a small business CEO?

Since my first smartphone, the Palm Treo 650, I have been waiting for the killer device: one device that serves as my phone and computer without having to sacrifice capability. The major motivation is convenience and access. If everything I need is on one device that’s ultra portable, I’ll always have what I need to work when I need it.

While the iPad Pro is not that device, it does significantly reduce the amount of stuff and the weight of what I need to carry in order to work. Check out the photos in my last post about this topic to see a comparison.

I tried this experiment before when the original iPad Pro came out. I loved it, but I ran into one major issue. QuickBooks online was absolutely unusable on the iOS version of Safari. So, I ended up returning it. If it couldn’t be my primary “computer,” it was too big to be a secondary device.

Then, Apple released the 10.5″ size along with iOS 11. My interest piqued, and I decided to pick one up to see if the updates made a difference.

My original plan this time was to use iPad Pro 10.5 for 2 weeks. (If you want to read more about my motives for switching to the iPad to begin with, you can go read this post.) While I was not able to make a complete switch, I have been using the iPad Pro 10.5″ as my primary device for about the last 2 months with iOS 11. I say primary because there are still tasks that are impossible and others that are unnecessarily difficult to do without a regular Mac or computer. This post will go over what I like and dislike.

What I like.

I love the size. The portability of this device is incredible. When I put it in my backpack in place of my 13″ MacBook Pro, it feels like nothing is in my bag.

It’s very comfortable to hold as a tablet for reviewing reports, reading email, and taking notes (which I’ll cover later). If I need to type something I just snap on the keyboard, and I am good to go. The screen is plenty large enough for me.

It makes me focus. When I say the screen is plenty large enough. I mean it. Most of time, if I’m using a large screen, I have multiple apps open. I’m not focused on the task at hand. The limited space on the iPad means I am more likely to work on one task at a time. If I need to reference something the new split screen experience on iOS 11 is perfect. I just pull up the app I need, copy or drag-and-drop what I need, and then move the app out of my way.

Drag-and-drop is amazing. So is multi-selection. It’s so much faster to attach files to emails or Slack. It’s not quite “computer” fast, but it’s much better and more efficient than past versions of iOS.

Apple Pencil. This is the killer feature for me. I love writing by hand. I take tons of handwritten notes. I make sketches of new features. I make flow charts for processes and to think through problems and ideas. I have notebooks all over my office and home. I think more clearly with a pen or pencil in hand, but there are two drawbacks with traditional notebooks.Notes are stuck in a notebook. They are hard to find. They aren’t always with me. They are hard to search through.

Any writing I do by hand has to be typed up to turn it into a blog post, memo, email, etc. It’s extra work.

The iPad Pro plus the Pencil solves this. The new Notes app makes handwritten searchable. This is great. There is also an app called Nebo.

Nebo is amazing because it can turn my handwriting into text. Anything I write can be exported to any app that supports iOS sharing, or I can just copy the text and paste it wherever I want.

It forces me to be a better delegator. I don’t know about you, but there are certain tasks I use in order to hide from the work I should be doing.A CEO’s job is to set the vision, make sure the right people are working on the right things, and making sure there is enough money coming in to pay the bills.

Assembling reports, data entry, accounting, printing stamps, etc., these are task I should delegate. The reason they don’t get delegated is because it is easier to do them myself than it is to create a process and teach someone else. When that is no longer the case, or when it’s impossible, it’s a great reminder to delegate.

The keyboard is fast and comfortable. The 10.5″ model keyboard took a few hours to get used to because it’s smaller. Once I did, I noticed I was typing about 10 words per minute faster. The keys are closer together, but not uncomfortably so. They are also very soft compared to MacBook keyboards which leave my fingertips feeling sore.

The tablet format for sharing info in meetings. Two people looking at one laptop screen is awkward. Being able to hand an iPad for someone to review a document feels almost as natural as handing over a piece of paper. It’s a very easy way to share information.

The speakers. They are loud and clear which is great for video and music. I have found this has a great business application: conference calls. Since iOS allows me to make and answer calls from my iPhone on my iPad, I use it on speaker phone when I’m on a conference call with multiple people in the room. It’s clear and don’t get any complaints about echoes on the other end.

What I don’t like.

Websites serve mobile versions of their sites. This is not necessarily Apple’s fault, and I t’s something that has improved since iPads were first introduced, but it’s still annoying. With the screen resolution of modern iPads, there is no reason to serve a separate mobile version. Yes, I can request a desktop version when I load the page, but some sites still check for iOS and then serve an entirely different version.

Can’t access the file system. The new Files app is an improvement, but I still can’t move files around like I can on my Mac. Instead of moving something from Dropbox to my Desktop, I have to save a copy to Desktop and delete the original. It still feels clunky.

QuickBooks Online. Besides having a site that’s a chore to use on an iPad, QuickBooks Online still won’t allow me to export a report to Excel. I know this isn’t an Apple limitation because I have other services that allow this to happen, including my company’s software. So if I need a report fast, I have to wait on someone to get it to me, or grab my computer. Come on QuickBooks!

Battery life and re-charging. The battery has never lasted me the 9 to 10.5 hours Apple advertises. I get about half a day’s worth (4-5 hours) depending on what I’m doing. The real problem comes from the amount of time it takes to recharge. Being tethered to a wall is defeats some of the purpose of working on an iPad.

Conclusion

You can absolutely use an iPad Pro instead of your computer as long as you are willing and able to delegate. It comes with tradeoffs which you need to be willing to accept going in.

I didn’t get rid of my MacBook yet. I still need it for updating website code, editing audio and video, and working inside of QuickBooks. QuickBooks aside, I enjoy these activities and don’t want to give them up.

That’s why my iPad Pro serves as my primary machine, but not my only one. I do believe there will be a day when a version of this device will do everything I need and want it to do.