The human resources executive had been reviewing my web-site, and he was interested enough to call because he had seen an overview of my seminar When Strangling Someone Isn’t An Option. As we talked I realized that my psychological training was going to play a big part in developing the proposal he was requesting. The next day I cobbled together a unique ten-hour coaching process, which include two face-to face hours and eight hours (an hour per week) over the phone.  

I realized that in order for the eight hours of phone conversation to work, I would need at least two hours for both of us to earn each other’s trust and respect, face-to-face. The first two hours were a critical foundation for a successful outcome eight phone conversations later.

Here’s why. Approximately 10 percent of communication is what we say, while approximately 40 percent of communication has to  do with tone and voice inflection. Making up the other 50 percent is body language, which is impossible to capture over the phone.

Body Language

What emerged is a confidential Critical Incident Debriefing process that has now been proven effective with senior executives, other key employees, professional athletes, musicians, and entertainers. I address issues ranging from sexual harassment, rage, and racially insensitive comments to stress management, grief over the loss of a loved one, and performance enhancement in the workplace. While therapeutic dynamics are utilized, it’s not therapy. It’s coaching.

My point for bringing this up is that out of a dry spell came another valuable aspect of my business. I have worked with many executives and the success rate has been remarkable. Client confidentiality is one of the main keys to its success. Coaching in this manner fi ts my passion and helps to feed my family. Critical Incident Debriefings alone have carried us through some periods where seminars were non-existent.

Executive Concepts: Reinvention isn’t something that just happens. Be on the look-out for it. Sometimes it will come to you brilliantly disguised as failure, a downturn in business, personal criticism, or hearing someone gripe about something. Try this metaphor on for size: let’s say you’re in the lobby of a tall building, and you have the choice between taking an elevator with one cable or an elevator with three cables. Which one would you choose? I’m right there with you on the elevator with the most cables. The same principle holds true with being an entrepreneur. It is better to have several arenas of expertise producing income streams. Diversify as much as possible without losing the intensity of your focus. If one income stream dries up for a season, look for another stream to open up and become a river.

Bonus: Wise investors develop high risk, medium risk and low risk strategies to make sure that their financial portfolios do not depend too much on one type of investment. Let’s take a look at the game of baseball. Most baseball games are won with a single here and a double there. So it is with entrepreneurs. Not only is this an important consideration when we view our investment portfolio, but also think of the concept that time is money. Invest your time like making hits and scoring runs in a baseball game. The home run is exciting, stirring the imagination of anyone with a pulse. You’ve seen the historical images. The famous slugger, Babe Ruth, points to a particular part of the baseball park wall and then hits the ball over it in the general area. The place goes crazy. The hometown crowd rises to its collective feet and roars its approval. High fives are everywhere. These images transcend time. To the connoisseur of baseball, the inside-the-park homerun and the grand slam home run (four runs in at one time) are some of the more memorable sights. Just as in baseball, when it comes to business, most of us enjoy dreaming and dreaming big. But here’s a word of caution: Some people are always swinging for the fences, constantly looking for the grand slam home run deal. The continual going-for–thefence passion and perseverance is commendable. But many times they give their loved ones emotional whiplash, with all the directions they go in . . . in a decade . . . without the fi nancial rewards to show for. They always seem to be experiencing a time, money, and/or emotional energy crisis. These folks will spend an inordinate amount of time trying to hit a grand slam at the expense of the singles and the doubles. You will not win many “games” that way. I am a “swing-for-the-fence” type of guy, and I have learned this lesson the hard way. Make sure that you apportion your time well. Make sure that you spend at least 85 to 90 percent of your business-related time hitting singles, doubles, and some triples (very hard to hit). That leaves 10 to 15 percent of your business-related time to work on the BIG DEAL—the home run! Take this advice also in terms of your investment strategy. Research carefully. Make sure that most of your money is invested in low to medium risk (secure) investments with the long term return in view. Set aside a small percentage  to play with on high-risk stocks or other speculative deals. But this is the NOT the money that you are depending upon to pay next month’s bills. That’s called gambling!