Every Time a Bell Rings…

Here is the secret area of margin: relationships. We have talked over the last four articles about the importance of margin, having just a bit more than you need. And so far, we have talked about three different types of margin: strategic margin, measurable margin, and process margin. But the most important type of margin …

The Magic to Meeting the Deadline, Every Time

You manage processes in your business and personal life all the time. In business, it might be sending in the RFP response or checking in with clients. Personally, it might be sending your kid’s school forms or designing and booking that trip to play ultimate worlds in Sardinia, Italy. Margin in your processes means you …

BHAG or SMART? Finally, the Truth About Goals

Goals are great. Don’t just take my word for it, take Edwin Locke’s. When talking about goals, Locke is the most cited researcher. Some people have said he is likely the most cited researcher of all time. Locke’s epic meta-study on goals, where he and his team reviewed 110 other peer-reviewed studies, found that goals …

One Thing That Lets Me Do My Best Work, Stress-free

“I do my best work under pressure.” I’ve heard this plenty of times. I certainly get the concept in the moment. There is not much time left, your adrenaline starts pumping, and you crank it out. Makes sense, right? But the reality is, the research does not support it. I highly recommend the well researched book …

The First Time I Thought About My Life’s Passion

It was 1989 on a beautiful fall day. Bryan Keller and I were walking back to the Delt house on Ball State’s campus. Bryan and I were the President and House Manager of our Delt Chapter at the time, so we knew each other well. We started talking about our futures, what was next for …

The Best Way To Say Thank You

Adam Grant is one of my favorite researchers. He’s a professor at the Wharton School and his book Give and Take is one of the best business books I’ve ever read. It aligns so well with our teachings at Bunnell Idea Group that I have multiple copies, because our clients kept buying it for me …

Being Thankful

You’re somewhere. Hopefully, somewhere great. Somewhere you’re happy with. Wherever you’re at, you would not be where you are without the help of others. Probably many others. Of course, your parents and family. But many others too. The salesperson who helped you find the right aisle at Home Depot, the work colleague who is always …

Think Big, Start Small, Scale Up

I was working with a group years ago, when a friend in the class, John Hightower, said these six words: “Think Big, Start Small, Scale Up.” The group I was working with latched on to the phrase, and so did I. Those words became a mantra during that training. We used the phrase to connect …

Board Games and Business Development

It’s all Phil Drury’s fault. The winters were cold growing up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and you had to get creative about what to do. Phil’s Dad had a huge collection of well-designed board games, and after playing a few, I was hooked. We started with games with simple rules like TwixT and Feudal. Then …

Being Grateful With Love and Emotion

Gratitude is practically magic. It’s free. It doesn’t take much time. It inspires productivity. It feels good to everyone involved. There’s no easier way to brighten someone’s day than by expressing gratitude. I was on the receiving end of gratitude last Christmas, and I’ll never forget it. We’re an ‘open one gift at a time’ …

I Am So Excited For Tomorrow

Tomorrow is going to be one of the best experiences of my life, and an amazing day for my family. I can’t wait to tell you about it. But first, you need the back story. It begins over 12 years ago when my wife, Becky, stumbled across a property. It was an in-town farm with …

Three Sets of Three

Today, I want to share three sets of three interesting things: Three quotes from awesome people: Peter Drucker: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Galileo Galilei: “Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.” Mo Bunnell (I know. I don’t deserve to be in this group): “Better to subjectively …

What To Do Next

Every day is fluid. Meetings, calls, and solo time are all mixed together, blending to create the day. Sometimes, I struggle at the beginning of those open moments, the ones where we get to choose what’s next. No commitments, no call that we’re three minutes late for. Just a small window of precious, open time. …

Three Things I Learned From Being an Actuary

I was going to be an FBI agent. I was sure of it. I was a Junior at Bellmont High School in the bustling metropolis of Decatur, Indiana, looking at the list of people speaking at our first ever career day. FBI Agent. Done. We could sign up for two sessions, and I think I …

Saying No, Nicely

Sometimes we need to say no to be able to focus on what we want to do, instead of life selecting what it wants us to do. Sometimes a blunt No way, man. I’m not doin’ that! with a laugh works, but rarely. Especially at work, it can be a delicate dance to say no. …

Sometimes You Have To Say No

Focus is hard, and the hardest part of focus is hidden. It’s a secret of sorts. It’s easy to think focus is some scientific formula of strong desire, cans of Red Bull, and late nights. But, I wonder if focus really begins much earlier: saying no to things. Saying no is difficult for lots of …

The Power of Focus

People I look up to have a common characteristic: focus. They have an incredible ability to pick something to move forward, dedicate incredible energy, to it, and drive it to completion. They create. And they finish. They ship their creations. When it comes to focus, my hero is Steve Jobs. Around the time he died, …

Our Best Work

I got an interesting call from our oldest daughter Gabby last night. Gabby is about five weeks into her Freshman year of college and she was struggling with studying. She said that she kept telling herself she’d start in 30 minutes, but after doing that several times, over 4 hours had gone by. I could …

Excellence is Boring

Recently I had lunch with a client. She made a small comment that hit me big, like a right hook to my mind. She said, “Excellence is boring.” She went on: “I just read an article that said people who do great things keep a singular focus. They stick with one idea, building a deep expertise. …

85,519 Reasons To Start

Eighteen years. That’s how long I’ve flirted with the idea of writing a book. I dabbled a little, publishing a few humor articles and co-writing some magazine publications, but did little else. I told myself I didn’t have time to write a book. Five years. That’s how long I spent seriously talking about it. I …

Worrying Less

I was on the terminal train at the Atlanta airport, heading out on a day trip to lead an important client session. I was excited about doing a speech for this client and was thinking about it while riding on the train. I was not really paying attention to anything around me. I was just …

Starting With The Hard Thing

Here’s something I deliberately try to do every day. Start with the hard thing. What do you do when you start work each day? Do you start with the hard thing? The call you are worried about? The task you don’t know out how to start? The tough feedback you need to give? Or, do …

Goals Made Simple

I love goals. I always have. I remember setting cross country mileage goals the summer after 8th grade, when I was just an 85-pound skinny kid. Honestly, I was scared of not succeeding on the freshman cross country team in high school. So I set varying daily goals that rolled up to my overall summer …

Relationships Matter

We hear this all the time, but it’s in the critical moments when relationships roar. In business, it’s the reference or the referral. Even getting a shot in the first place. Many times, winning and losing comes down to the relationship. I’ve been thinking about relationships a lot lately, especially at home. I’m about to …