What is your value added – Streamlining low-value busy-work

ax_valThis was a coaching question but it applies to anyone with a boss, client, student or colleague.

Novice coaches often mistake inefficiencies with dedication.

Spending hours, upon hours, on administration and busy-work that add very little value to their client, or boss.

Specifically, there is a reluctance to use templates and recycle work. In fact, they think that anything not built from scratch is cheating.

Under what conditions are templates cheating?

  • don’t work
  • not fun
  • lower compliance
  • fail to meet goals

What to do?

  • Aim towards continual efficiency improvements at what you do
  • Save your work – you have limited number of keystrokes in your life
  • Check with bosses, supervisors and clients on what they value – so you can work on the right things!
  • Pay attention to what limits your performance and enjoyment – admin will make you miserable, especially when it can be avoided
  • Notice, and keep, what works
  • The cost of (an inefficient) status quo is hidden
  • Frequently pause and ask… What is important now?

As an advisor, remember that performance is driven by behavior, not protocol – the best protocol is the one that motivates effective behavior.

Personal inefficiencies don’t motivate effective behavior in others.

What are your most effective behaviors?

Be the brand.

Keep it simple.

Structuring Your Business

I am going to use Triathlon Coaching for this case study but I could easily re-write with a focus on investment analysis.


How efficient are you?  I’ve worked with the best coaches in sport and they never brag about how busy they are.  If you’re constantly busy then you need to take an honest look at your efficiency.  Do you spend your time on what the team wants to achieve?  

Strong relationships are built on being effective, not busy.

Productivity happens when we are effective and efficient.  Here are quick hits to improve your productivity:

  1. Training Peaks – template creation for training plans, an pooled workout library, and auto notify for key workouts (via email into a separate mail folder).  If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you need to fix that, now.
  2. Season Planner – I’ve created this in google docs.  It has the year on a single page and I can create a new page for athlete specific information.  I have my team create a short URL (via bit.ly) and access via clickthrough which is embedded in each athlete’s signature file.  Again, if that doesn’t make sense to you then figure out what I’m talking about.  It will save you time.
  3. Team Forum – the big IT investment for 2010 was creation of a team forum.  We copied the market leader (Slowtwitch) so everyone was familiar with the look & feel.  This creates a network effect that is far superior to email tennis.  We help each other; access a greater knowledge base; and the coaches have a single place for integration/education.  [NOTE: One of the things that drives me nuts about email is the lack of scale (1:1).  I’m leveraged over 100:1 on our forum; over 1,000:1 on my blog and over 10,000:1 on my book.  Financial funnels aren’t the only ones that I think about.]
  4. Billing – we are integrated between our accounting, banking and email systems (Intuit/Quickbooks/Chase).  Even though I like receiving money in the mail – I’ve removed myself from most the admin.
  5. Social Networks & Blogs – I’m a read/write guy so I track my crew via twitter and blog RSS.  Athletes, in general, tend to be kinesthetic (Facebook).  Facebook is an effort for me but I’m getting better.

What sort of people do you like working with?  Where are they?  Does your business model let you control growth or are you working as fast as you can to simply stay in the same place?  How do you establish, and retain, your expert credentials?  Better yet, what are your credentials?  How could I find out about them?  How often does your target market think about you?  What do they think?

The public side of EnduranceCorner.Com is our answer to all the questions above.  What’s your answer?

The most common mistake for head coaches/senior partners is to see the junior partners as profit, rather than knowledge, contributors.  Your best people (coaches, sponsors and athletes) will leave if you “feed off them”, rather than work for them.  At EC, I contribute to our overheads on the same basis as everyone else.  We have visibility on the overheads and a shared incentive to manage ourselves effectively.

Who’s winning in your business?  Anyone losing? Lose any people that you would have liked to keep?  Why did they go?

Your strategic position is strengthened when you are sold out. Get to that position and assess your business.  The Endurance Nation guys are sold out on their team and their waiting list is sold out.  You can’t even wait to wait.  Their playbook is effective for their goals.  What are your goals?

Let’s consider two business structures: a team of six athletes paying $1,000 per month vs a team of 60 athletes paying $100 per month. A common mistake is to link value to the headline number.  $1,000 is bigger so that must be better, right?  That depends.  Sixty smart people create a powerful network – especially when they have the demographic profile of triathletes.  The discretionary spending power of sixty average triathletes is over $500,000 per annum.  Sixty highly educated triathletes?  Well over a million dollars per year.  

Consider your contribution to the team’s life experience vs your cost within their overall budget.  Keep your share of fun WAY over your share of wallet.

Remember my question about “who you like to work with”?  Say you’re charging “maximum rate” to coach; be careful of creating co-dependence to justify your fee.  Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to pricing and team size.

Spend time considering the result you want to create.

What incentives are you giving the team, the coaches and yourself with your business structure?  

The incentives will drive the result – might as well point them at the desired result!