TED Talk: Want to get great at something? Get a coach.

TED Talk: Want to get great at something? Get a coach.

As a business leader, it’s hard to determine when you need a coach, and what they could help you with. We often talk to our clients about the hard and proven benefits of having someone on your side like a business coach, but since everyone needs coaching on different things (or for different reasons) it can be hard to show examples that resonate.

Atul Gawande has a fantastic TED talk that does a great job of demonstrating the real-world results that coaching had for him as a surgeon - and how it was crucial for him to become a top-level doctor in his field.

“You don't recognize the issues that are standing in your way or if you do, you don't necessarily know how to fix them. And the result is that somewhere along the way, you stop improving. And I thought about that, and I realized that was exactly what had happened to me as a surgeon.

I'd entered practice in 2003, and for the first several years, it was just this steady, upward improvement in my learning curve. I watched my complication rates drop from one year to the next. And after about five years, they leveled out. And a few more years after that, I realized I wasn't getting any better anymore. And I thought: ‘Is this as good as I'm going to get?’“

The Daily Herald features Tom Caprel

The Daily Herald features Tom Caprel


posted: 7/9/2018 1:00 AM

Is it time to pat your back?

Jim Kendall

Tom Caprel says there's no more cruise control for the owners of small and mid-size businesses.

Even so, based on perceptions shared by Caprel and Ray Horn, two knowledgeable observers of not only the small and mid-size business communities but of the outside forces that impact us all, those who own and manage businesses today likely deserve a pat or two on the back.

For decades, explains Caprel, business owners have been able to divine "fairly clear signals" from the federal government, indicators that entrepreneurs could, generally, build strategies around.

That was then.

Still, "People who run businesses are pretty pragmatic folk," says Caprel, principal, BreakThrough Results Inc., a Riverside consulting firm. Consequently, needing to adapt to a President who regularly uses Twitter to introduce new policy directions, Caprel says that business owners are adjusting by looking at their ecosystems more often and making changes as necessary.

For many businesses, Caprel says that means a strategic review every six months, often every three months.

Even with the need to adapt to a different political and policy development atmosphere, Caprel says most business owners he talks with are "still optimistic." Although the retail sector "has been a little flat the past few months, and distributors agree that one way or another it will cost them more to do business, nobody seems fearful of a full-blown recession," Caprel says.

Even though he sees businesses at a different stage than does Caprel, Horn pretty much agrees with the optimistic outlook. The business owners he connects with -- Horn is a partner and mergers and acquisitions attorney at Meltzer, Purtill & Stelle LLC, a Schaumburg law firm -- tend to come with a "'We can make the best out of this' attitude," Horn says. "It's been a very good year."

There are issues, and Horn acknowledges "There could be some excuse for a pullback," but even in situations where "There is pressure for companies to transition -- for owners to sell and retire," the mood generally is positive.

Whether the ultimate intent is to buy or sell a business, jobs are a concern, with many business owners worrying about how to find workers. That, Horn says, is especially true in manufacturing.

But Horn sees "an incredible 'can do' attitude" that even with immigration uncertainty making it more difficult to find skilled workers, the outlook that flows to Horn from his small and mid-size business clients leaves him "as positive as I've felt in any recent year."

I expected more negativity from Caprel and Horn, both of whom are well-informed and honest. But a little introspection indicates that many business owners perhaps aren't facing "the same level of whipsaw we might expect," Caprel says. The typical business owner, he says "has been through a lot of up and down cycles."

Ultimately, the issues that so enrage talking heads and their guests on both the right and left may be nothing more than the current cycle playing out.

• © 2018 Kendall Communications Inc. Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter. Write him at Jim@kendallcom.com. Read Jim's Business Owners' Blog at kendallcom.com.

How to cope with entrepreneurial stress - Lessons from BreakThrough Clients

How to cope with entrepreneurial stress - Lessons from BreakThrough Clients

In November, the Daily Herald interviewed Evie and several BreakThrough clients, including Ray Simon, CEO & President of INSTEC on the importance of dealing with stress as an entrepreneur. One of the key factors they focused on were mechanisms to help center and focus the mind, like walking, meditation, or breaks. 

"Nearly every business owner faces stress, the result of issues that, says Evie Caprel, can pile up and "impede our ability to make decisions. We feel overwhelmed, squeezed by the calendar or clock, or just dissatisfied with the way business life is going.

"There are so many things to do first, and we can't figure out which is the most important," says Caprel, vice president and co-owner at BreakThrough Results Inc., a Wheaton consultancy.

Helping business owners find the calm that breaks the tension cycle is a big part of Caprel's advisory approach."

Read more on "How to cope with entrepreneurial stress" by Jim Kendall of the Daily Herald, here.


Evie Caprel with Shalom Klein on Get Down To Business

Evie Caprel with Shalom Klein on Get Down To Business

This week, Evie spoke with Shalom Klein, the host of "Get Down To Business" which is on AM 560 The Answer, Sundays at 6 PM CST. Shalom interviewed Evie on her experiences in business and entrepreneurship

To the Disruptors Go the Spoils

To the Disruptors Go the Spoils

Whether you believe it’s “Adapt or Die” or “Adapt or Decline”, the disruption of the conventional insurance chain is well underway. For those who ignore it, dire consequences await... 

Our New Website

Our New Website

The work that we do brings dynamic and measurable results to business owners, leadership teams, and their companies. But how do you know if what we do can help you achieve your goals?