Archive for General

Would you get married before going on a date?

You don’t have to get people to buy from you in the first sentence. You don’t even have to get them to give you money in the first conversation. This realization was vital to me when I started doing sales and business development. The trick is to think about a journey, not a single transaction. There are all kinds of courses, marketing funnels, pipeline, and sales processes that address this concept in detail. It is important to have a broad understanding before you get too far into such technical details.

I have found that a simple mindset helped me understand this at a high level. Here’s my framework to get started in a marketing or sales conversation.

I break my conversations and messages into three stages: Aware, Attract, Commit.

First, I want people to be aware of what I’m offering or proposing. When it appears my prospect is a good fit then I want to attract them with more details. Finally, if the conversation is still going well then I want to get a commitment. It could take a few minutes or months to walk through this process. It all depends on the size and impact. Trying to jump straight to commitment is like walking down the aisle before meeting your bride.

You can apply this framework to many different situations such as selling a product or service to a customer, getting your manager to approve your project, convincing your neighbor to help pay for a broken fence, and many more situations.

Get more tips like this directly in your email. Signup below:

Negotiating: Why you should improve and the simple method to do it

Negotiations happen every day by almost all of us. It might not be extreme as getting a hostage out of a bank. Negotiating your way through a car sales deal doesn’t happen very often either. So what are we negotiating? 

Negotiating happens in so many of our day-to-day activities. Examples include picking what restaurant to order for dinner, getting your children to go to bed on time, and how to split up the chores with a spouse or a roommate. Often stress starts to increase when the stakes get bigger, like when you think about buying a car or figuring out lease terms with a landlord. 

Most people do not like negotiating. If you want to be successful in business, then you must get over your fear and dislike of negotiations. We know that behavior drives results yet sometimes we forget that there is a step before our behaviors. There is a common and very relevant concept that your thinking drives your behavior. You won’t have good outcomes if you think negotiations are scary or hard or that you always lose. 

So before you try to improve your negotiation tactics and skills you have to fix your mindset. Here are three simple things to do to help: 

  1. Think collaboratively. Approach a situation trying to find a win-win outcome. It is almost always possible for both parties in a negotiation to walk away feeling good with the outcome. 
  2. Know there is common ground. At some level, there is common ground with everyone, especially your negotiating counterpart. Start with the fact that you are both human and get more specific from there until you get as granular as possible. 
  3. Relax. Don’t let your emotions run wild. Slow down, recognize, and address your emotions. Embrace whatever fear or anxiety you have then proceed through it. Chances are your counterpart feels some of the same things. 

There are plenty of tactics, skills, and approaches to help with negotiations but none of them will be successful with the wrong mindset. Begin by recognizing and improving your mental model about negotiations. 

Out of Alignment: A Personal Story

Goals are a tool used to get you from where you are to where you want to be. Goals and motivations are linked and they won’t be very effective without each other. If you set your goals based on the wrong motivations then you will not be satisfied when you reach your goals. In fact, I’ve found that if your motivation is not true, you may not even make it to your goal. The same is true in your business. If goals, vision, structure, etc. are not aligned then you will not find success. That’s why our web address is “Align To Succeed.”

Think about when the wheels on your car are out of alignment. You have to pull the steering wheel to keep the car going where you want it to go. It takes extra effort to drive to your destination if your car is not aligned. Tires will be worn, low gas mileage and overall poor performance result from your wheels being out of alignment. This is exactly how it happens in your life.

This happened to me several years ago. I set a goal to run a marathon ( and was prepared to do it. I had run the half marathon the year before (this was the furthest I had ever run) and I was prepared to make it the whole 26.2. I had all the gear: running shoes, running tights, gloves, reflectors, bluetooth earbuds… I had the schedule: training, rest, cross training, etc. I even had the accountability. I told friends and family; I had a coworker running the same training schedule. Everything was set, planned and ready for a huge goal. Then I skipped a run, or two. I didn’t stretch enough or properly. I dropped a cross training day. But I was okay, I could get my long run in on Saturday and be back on track. And I did, for a while. My knee started to hurt, a lot! I dropped my long runs in favor of not being in pain all the time. I could run if I stopped to stretch every couple of miles. I was miserable. I wasn’t going to achieve my goal and I was struggling to accept my defeat. I went to the race that year but I ran the half marathon instead of the whole 26.2 miles. I failed to reach my goal.

2015 marathon picAfter my disappointing half marathon.

Don’t let the smile fool you, I was in pain!

Why did I fail? My goal of a marathon was misaligned with the rest of my life. Hindsight is great; now that I look back I know exactly why I didn’t succeed. I wanted to run a marathon to check off a box. I wanted to run a marathon for the sake of running a marathon. I didn’t really have any other motivation than that. And that wasn’t enough. When sleep was an option, or I was in pain, or my kids wanted to play I chose the things that had a true motivation in my life rather than the misaligned goal of a marathon.

Don’t get me wrong: I think running a marathon is a noble thing and I still would love to complete it someday. At that time, I was not in a place where a goal with such a huge commitment was properly placed in my life. When I’m ready, I’ll run a marathon someday.

Doing what it takes to achieve your goals will mean sacrifice. It does not matter what your goal is if you aren’t prepared to pay the price to reach it then it will not be worth it. Jesus tells the story like this, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’” (Luke 14:28-30) Jesus says if you aren’t willing to sacrifice then you can’t be his disciple. The same teaching applies to our goals. The cost of achieving your goals means sacrificing other things. It could be money, time, family, career, enjoyment, comfort, or something else. If what you sacrifice is aligned with your values and closer to your motivations then your goal will rip you apart from your true self.

You don’t have to let this happen to you or your business. Align the vision, structure, and systems in your business to lead you to success. When it gets tough, and it will, you will be ready to face the adversity because you know your goals support where you want to go.


(This post was originally published on

Introducing the CK Group

There are many ways to find success in your business. I’ve had personal success being self-employed, in small business, and in a Fortune 200 company. Success has looked different in each situation and it must take different forms based on where, how, and who is involved. If you own or run a small business then it is up to you to drive success in your business.

I want to help you find that success.

My desire to help others started when I was young and has taken many different forms throughout the years. I started my career as a Personal Trainer, helping others reach their health and fitness goals. It took a deep level of passion to find clients, understand their goals, design plans, then coach clients to success. I loved it but felt there was more I could to do help people. From there I transitioned to an emergency medical technician, helping others in their most vulnerable health and safety situations. I learned a lot about training, systems, preparation, and perspective. The work of an EMT was fulfilling but I found that I missed the business aspect.

I went back to school to learn more about business and earned an MBA from Oklahoma Christian University. Since then I’ve spent over a decade working in business. I find great satisfaction in business by building value, streamlining operations, creating and communicating vision, and more. I’ve found there are two things that must happen to create the most success in business: Creating Clarity and Eliminating Chaos.

My goal for this website and my company, CK Group LLC, is to help you eliminate chaos and create clarity in your business.

As much as I enjoy it, I don’t spend my entire life in business. I spend as much time as I can with my beautiful wife and 2 strong boys. We play, camp, learn, travel, and so much more together. You can find some of our adventures over at