The Change Your Mindset Podcast

Welcome to the Change Your Mindset podcast, hosted by Peter Margaritis, CPA, AKA The Accidental Accountant. Peter is a speaker, expert in applied improvisation and author of the book 'Improv Is No Joke, Using Improvization to Create Positive Results in Leadership and Life'. Peter's new book, Taking the Numb Our of Numbers: Explaining & Presenting Financial Information with Confidence and Clarity will be published in June 2018.

S3E30. How to Cut the Right Expenses & Make Your Balance Sheet a Fortress with Ken “Mr. Biz” Wentworth

Would you describe your balance sheet as a fortress? Are your products and services properly priced at a profit or are they actually the silent killer of your business? Would you consider yourself someone who can see the future?”

If you’re not sure about the answers to any of these questions, you really should be — and Ken “Mr. Biz” Wentworth is going to help you get there.

Ken developed his business expertise during 20+ years in leadership positions, advising businesses, from Fortune 15 companies to startups, on how to establish a solid financial path. He is also the author of two bestselling business books that have helped thousands upon thousands of businesses:  “Pathway to Profits” and “How to Be a Cash Flow Pro.”

If you aren’t sure about the state of your balance sheet, or if you just need to cut down on expenses, Ken has a process you can go through to evaluate it:

  • First, if you don’t have a working balance sheet, create one and put the systems in place to keep it updated.
  • Go through your expenses, line by line, and score each expense from one to three. Three means it has a direct impact on revenue, two means it has an indirect impact on revenue, and one means it has no impact on revenue. The last thing you want to do is reduce expenses that have a direct impact on revenue.
  • Next, go through each line and score them from one to three again, but this time, score each expense in relationship to its impact on customer service. Three means it has a direct impact on customer service, two means it has an indirect impact, and one means it has no impact.
  • Tally up the total of each expense. Protect the fives and sixes, those are the main drivers of revenue, and consider how you can cut any twos or threes substantially or entirely.

You might be wondering why Ken prioritizes customer service as much as direct revenue generation, and the answer is pretty simple — 62% of the customers that leave you will leave not due to price but due to customer service issues. “People simply won’t pay a premium for crappy service.”


S3E29. Taking an Innovative Approach to Communication in the Corporate World

What makes a company or corporation great? What makes them truly stand out amongst their competitors? The answer is excellent, innovative, and effective communication. This kind of communication provides productivity, adaptability, stronger relationships, and successful negotiations — and it brings an end to the tired, useless jargon that derails, distracts, and limits every situation.

What organizations need is an innovative approach that creates open and effective communication, both internally and externally, during your organization’s day-to-day workings. And, believe it or not, that innovative approach is found in the principles of improvisation. It creates a unique, powerful approach that promotes a simpler, more positive, and effective way to communicate, collaborate, and cooperate as a team.

The foundation for effective leadership is active listening. When leaders listen to their employees and engage them using the skills learned from improv, growth happens. Improv promotes cooperation, and with greater collaboration comes greater productivity. The principles of improv fundamentally create productive interactions because they force people to truly listen to one another, and many companies are recognizing the power effect this has on teams.

Improv also builds stronger relationships. Successful relationships are built slowly, first through collaboration, then sharing, and building off of a shared vision. We’re more likely to succeed in our relationships when both parties can envision a common goal. Set aside your ego and go with it.

Improvisation creates successful negotiations, too. To succeed in negotiations, we need to drop our agendas long enough to listen and with respect for all involved. This is the kind of straight talk that we can cultivate that will make the most significant difference.

There are six principles of improvisation to keep in mind:

  1. Take who you are off the table
  2. Respect the other party
  3. Be in the moment
  4. Listen to the other party’s needs or wants
  5. Adapt to the situation
  6. Yes, and

When more people are willing to speak up with their ideas because they know they will be heard, employees take a more vested role in the jobs they have. Their performance goes up. People get excited to see their vision take shape. Excellent, creative, and effective communication invites productivity, adaptability, stronger relationships, successful negotiations, and it brings an end to the tired jargon that derails conversations. And it can all be found in improvisation.


S3E28. Kindness is the Key with Allison Clarke

When was the last time you performed a random act of kindness?

Allison Clarke is a certified speaking professional and an expert in leadership and influence. She’s helped thousands around the world break through the barriers to boost profitability, improve productivity, and increase team cohesion. Not your average speaker, Allison consistently challenges both her speakers and herself daily. For over five years, she’s carried out daily acts of kindness with strangers, colleagues, friends, and family. Allison walks her talk.

Ranked a top 25 master trainer in the world of Dale Carnegie Corporation, Allison spent 16 years fostering and witnessing astonishing transformations, the foundations upon which she built Allison Clark consulting. To demonstrate the power of appreciation, Allison began to teach and exemplify intentional acts of daily kindness. Her book “The Kindness Habit” is a resource designed to improve workplace culture, strengthen relationships, soothe stress, and infuse positivity into every office, home, and community.

Allison keeps a list of 100 things that she wants to do while she’s alive—a “live list,” not a bucket list. While checking something off on her list, she realized that the only way to see how someone’s truly lived their life is by going to their funeral. She made the decision to crash 30 funerals in 60 days, reached out to the funeral industry, and just began picking people out of the obituaries and sitting in the back, absorbing what that person’s life meant to others. And at each one, she picked up one action they did that we could all do to live a better life.

We need to practice kindness and gratitude regularly. If you’re having trouble flexing your gratitude muscle, try a “gratitude alphabet” exercise: Try to come up with something you’re grateful for starting with each letter of the alphabet and see how far you can get. Air, business, cat, etc.

What can you do today to be kind to others? I challenge you to do one kind thing to someone in your life every day. When you do, you’ll be surprised at the positive effect it has on your life.


S3E27. Inspiration, Motivation, & Creativity: The Improv Mindset

What challenges do you have in building your team? Is your team focused solely on completing tasks? Is the group cohesive together and work together as a well-oiled machine?

The landscape of business as we know it continues to change rapidly. What worked today may not work tomorrow, and almost certainly won’t ten years from now. Having the best team to accomplish the fast-paced demands of marketing, productivity, and customer service requires leaders that attract and embody more than just the technical and operational mindset.

What’s needed is inspiration, motivation, and creativity. Enter: The improvisation mindset.

The elements of improv give your leadership the power to engage at levels beyond what you could have imagined and amplify your reach and impact to attract the best and the brightest to your team.

During an improv skit, the performers develop what’s known as the group mindset. When this happens, the performance becomes energetic, fun, and productive. The same concept is at work behind interpersonal communications on the job. A group mindset is achieved through inspiration by introducing new ideas to the scene.

Shift the focus from tasks to creating the group mindset needed to achieve your vision, using the principles of improvisation. Listen to your team. If you don’t have a clear vision for everyone on the team, you’re going to need one.

The best teams come from leveraging leadership in a way that creatively confronts conflict and leverages improvisation techniques to unlock the gems in every idea. The greater you develop your leadership, the greater your team will become.


S3E26. Building a Community & Audience Through Storytelling with Jordan Kahana

Have you ever thought about being an entrepreneur and your business model is documenting your life with your girlfriend and two dogs—and earning a living? Sounds crazy, maybe even impossible… but it’s not!

Jordan Kahana has, over the last four years, created content traveling the world with his girlfriend and two pups, Zeus and Sedona (AKA the Adventure Squad), producing photo, video, and interactive digital campaigns with both boutique and major corporations.

Jordan had a camera in his hand through much of college, with the goal of being a sports broadcaster. He started to notice a digital shift happening: he was creating satire around what was happening in the sports world, and it was taking off. He started showing it to producers and Sports Nation brought him in to run social media. From there, he bounced around to several different companies, like ESPN, the NFL, and Pepsi.

At the same time, he was making his own content while traveling with his two dogs. He was feeling dissatisfied with his job, and when he saw his hobby could be a full-time job opportunity after putting in four years of dedicated work, he ended up quitting to follow his own path.

Jordan’s next quest is to travel across the country in a campervan named Sunni. This incredibly unique business was made possible through hard work and consistency, and it’s proof that there are more ways to make a living than you could ever imagine.

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