Thoughts from The 100: Living Your Best Life

The-100-Title-OnlyThis is the first of a series of posts with additional thoughts, examples, and insights from my book, The 100.

 

Ever dreamed of quitting your job and “reinventing” yourself? If so, you’re not alone.

According to an intriguing article in this month’s Atlantic Monthly, by former National Public Radio journalist Barbara Bradley Haggerty, only one-third of Baby Boomers and GenXers are engaged by their work.

Haggerty quotes Jim Harter, a chief scientist for workplace management and well-being at the Gallup polling organization, who says about half of the remaining working Baby Boomers and GenXers are “not engaged” at work. “They show up, get their paycheck and do the minimum amount required,” says Harter, which he describes as “a pretty desperate state.”

Desperate indeed!

We spend a good chunk of our lives working. Why not make our work lives engaging and – radical notion – use work to enhance the overall quality of our lives?

That radical notion lies at the heart of how I view my work and how I’ve structured my company. “Work should give life, not take it” according to The E-Myth author Michael Gerber. Since reading The E-Myth a couple of decades ago, I’ve worked to make Intertech a place that gives life: to employees, to clients, to our community and to my partners and to me.

How do we do this?

It really boils down to working in ways that keep everyone engaged and encouraging healthy work-life balance. Later in this blog I’ll share how Intertech builds employee engagement and work-life balance into the very fabric of our company. But today and for my next several posts, I’m going to focus on the broader topic of “living your best life.” If you own a business or manage people –or even if you live alone in the woods painting acorns— I hope you’ll find some of my ideas and tips useful.

Tip #1: Learn from happy people

Check out the book “What Happy Know” by Dan Baker. I’m happy I did! Baker debunks the myth that money makes people happy and reveals the authentic status symbols of happy people: a happy family, good friends and pride in their work.

Obviously happy families and good friends don’t simply materialize. We have to build healthy relationships over time, and work on ourselves if we have issues that make relationships tough. Myriad resources – books, workshops, and therapists – exist to help heal and build relationships. While I’m blessed with a wonderful wife and great kids, I’m certainly not qualified to advise anyone else on personal matters.

But pride at work is something I feel qualified to comment on. I see it everyday in the people who work at Intertech. They are curious, love solving client problems and motivated to keep learning and building their expertise. They also embrace our company’s core philosophy: “To create a place where people matter and our client’s businesses are improved through technology.”

As business leaders, we need to set the tone. Identifying your highest core values and making sure those values guide decisions will go a long way toward building a company where people are happy. (My next post will explore how values help propel us forward.)

You also need to choose your employees carefully because happiness seems to be hard-wired for most of us:

“Happiness doesn’t mean being in a good mood most of the time or experiencing the emotion of joy. Happiness is a way of life, an overriding outlook composed of optimism, courage, love and fulfillment.” – Dan Baker, What Happy People Know

The 100 Book Q&A – What I’m Working on Next

The-100-Title-Only

What are you working on next?

For Intertech, we’re investing in and growing our Internet of Things (IoT) consulting practice. IoT is projected to grow five-fold (from about 5 billion devices currently connected to the Internet to the 25 billion projected to be connected in 2020). The future is a world where everything has a sensor connected to the Internet. IoT consulting is the type of work our consultants love so that makes it a win all around: our consultants get work that gets them up early and keeps them engaged; our customers get a great solution because engaged folks produce solid work, and our firm wins because happy customers and employees results in great retention and profits.

On the writing front, a couple of years ago, I wrote a children’s book. It was mainly a way to teach my then three- and five-year-olds manners. I’m toying around with another book to help with my next parenting challenge.  

The 100 Critique from The Midwest Book Review

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, “The 100: Building Blocks for Business Leadership” is an ideal instructional guide and reference for anyone having managerial or ownership responsibilities for a small business enterprise of any kind. Simply stated, “The 100: Building Blocks for Business Leadership” should be a part of every community, corporate, and academic library Business Management instructional reference collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that “The 100: Building Blocks for Business Leadership” is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

—The Midwest Book Review

The 100: Building Blocks for Business Leadership Press Release

The-100-Title-OnlySaint Paul, United States of America, March 22, 2016 (Newswire.com) – How does someone build a thriving business with loyal customers and employees? How does someone craft a workplace that wins dozens of awards for being a best place to work and, more importantly, is filled with happy employees who rarely leave? How does someone generate healthy annual profits while still facilitating life balance, not only for himself but also his employees? Ask Tom Salonek, founder and CEO of Intertech, a Minnesota-based IT consulting and training company. Better yet, read his new book, The 100: Building Blocks for Business Leadership (Agate B2, 978-1-57284-196-3, $14).

“You could spend a year reading the top 100 business books and not come away with as much as an afternoon spent reading this book”–Thomas W. Schaefer, CEO and President, Master Coating Technologies

Salonek, who founded Intertech in 1991, has intentionally developed a company where people thrive – personally and professionally – and customers receive best in class IT services and training. His book, a sort of self-help manual for small business leaders and corporate managers alike, contains 100 short lessons filled with hands-on techniques and practical advice based on concepts Salonek learned at Intertech and through executive education he pursued at Harvard, MIT and the University of St. Thomas.

Best of all, The 100 is practical, pithy and comes with 30-plus downloadable resources for implementing the book’s concepts. The 100 is available in both print and electronic formats through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and a variety of local independent booksellers. ​

View the release online here.

The 100 Book Q&A – Advice for Businesses on the Decline

The-100-Title-Only

What’s your advice for entrepreneurs whose businesses are on the decline? 

Action cures fear. When you’re actively focused on the solution and working the problem, you feel more empowered. For a business in decline, remember that you’re not the first to experience this problem. Who do you know within or outside your organization that could help generate ideas to turn things around? Start with “green light” brainstorming session around the core problems causing the decline. Ask, “In what ways can we increase sales?” or “In what ways can we reduce expenses to improve profitability?” After all the ideas are on the table, sort from first to worst, and then act.