Joe DeRamos of FocalPoint
YES! recently had the opportunity to be inspired by Joe DeRamos in Understanding and Implementing Change. Joe is a Certified Business Coach and Trainer with FocalPoint.
Joe shared with us several keys to both understanding and implementing change in our lives.
Let’s start with a foundation shared by Joe: Gleicher’s Formula for Change
Where C is the Change
Where D is the Dissatisfaction with the Present state
Where V is the Vision of the Future state
Where F is the First Steps or Plan to get there
Where R is the Resistance to change
As referenced on FocalPoint’s website, David Gleicher envisioned this formula while he was working at Arthur D. Little in the early 1960s. It was later refined by Kathie Dannemiller in the 1980s. Together, they developed a formula that is the model to assess the relative strengths affecting the likely success of organizational change programs.
What became evident to us was that sticky inconvenience, keeping us at status quo: Resistance to Change.
This is the excerpt from our interview with Joe, summarized with permission from Joe:
Q: What has been your own journey in this time of change?
My journey began in 2015, following a decade of experience in commercial lending, with several years of award-winning performance. Over time as the industry changed and consolidated, I was downsized as many of us have been. I spent time networking, interviewing and connecting for the next opportunity. During this time, I realized that another corporate role was not for me, my heart was not in it. I found I had gone as far as I could go on that career path.
So, I took some time to work for myself, working in commercial lending and actually spending time simultaneously as an Uber driver. I loved getting to meet new people and it did provide some business contacts and opportunities along the way as well.
When the pandemic of 2020 arrived, it accelerated my reflection on “where do I belong in this world” – what is the best use of my talents, my abilities and my network? By coincidence, my wife had met someone at an event back in 2019 who worked with people in career transition. That opened up my eyes to this whole world of coaching: People helping small businesses perform at their best and lead me to FocalPoint.
Q:What was the “ah ha” moment to choose FocalPoint?
Even though I started my career in the insurance industry as a temporary in the mailroom on the night shift, approximately 18 months in, I became Supervisor of the call center. This was due to a series of mentors taking me under their wing along the way.
I define myself as an insider. What this means to me is that I am someone who had a deep knowledge of how the insurance industry and banking industry works. I always had a desire to share my knowledge and advice to my clients and customers of “how things really worked” – how an insurance company functions – how they utilize your credit, how they utilize exposure and the law of averages (actuarial stats). It is completely natural for me to be helpful – especially when, in the lending area of my career, the answer was no. Why was the application rejected – what this bank looks for but another bank looks at it differently.
Being able to use my knowledge and background and have the support structure, the material, and certifications that FocalPoint provides was just the perfect combination. The tools from FocalPoint include Team Building, Sales, Behavioral Assessments and Communication Assessments. It packaged my knowledge with their processes and deliverables: like a living, breathing help desk.
This is where I belong.
Q: It sounds as though this is very much a relationship based business, like banking, and not so much focused on a transaction.
Yes, it’s very much based on suitability. I’ll use the banking industry as an example: If there was a customer that wasn’t the right fit for me, I would use my network to connect them to someone who was. I’ve always loved having an extensive network. In fact, many people have said, if you’re looking for a specific resource, “Joe knows a guy”. It took me some time to realize how expansive my network has become!
In fact, this is another strength that I share with my clients. If you are working in a company that is very siloed and you don’t know what other people in other parts of your company bring to the table, I can bring a program to make your organization more robust in less than 6 months.
Q: What roadblocks/hurdles did you encounter in making the change yourself?
What affected me affects us all: Our Own Brain.
Fear – fear of the unknown, fear of not being able to see the forest for the trees. False Expectations Appearing Real. 99% of the time, it’s us, getting in our own way.
In the roller-coaster that is life, it’s hard to appreciate when we’re in a good spot on the way up. By contrast, it’s hard to see any upside when we’re at the lowest point. Having a support structure around you is important, including people who can tell you “Hey, it’s gonna get better.”
When people focus on the negative: “I got fired from my job, I failed at this, I failed at that”, it’s important, as I remind people, that if they didn’t go through these experiences, they wouldn’t be where they are today: you wouldn’t have met your wife, you wouldn’t have your three kids, you wouldn’t be successful now. All of those things had to happen to get you where you are today. My advice is to focus on the present and keep moving forward. Stop focusing on what you can’t control, your past, and focus on what you can control, your future.
Controlling your negative thoughts can also be managed through improving your overall well-being: meditation, yoga, breathing, positive affirmations, seeking counseling. Taking time to devote to your well-being can work wonders in just 10 minutes per day.
Q: Sara Blakely, the inventor of Spanx relates a story that each night at the dinner table, her dad would ask everyone “what did you fail at today?” It helped condition her and her siblings to realize failure was part of life that wasn’t to be feared. Is that what you help your clients reveal?
The difference between the successful person and the non-successful person is that they fail faster. Because they’re constantly learning. Successful people fail faster and overcome the fear of failure. In Gleicher’s formula, the First Step is what makes all the difference. My clients work with me because they want to see change, they want to make change happen. Getting to change takes time and it takes work. You have to get uncomfortable before you can get comfortable and move forward.
Q: To that end, is there a formula within FocalPoint in what you provide or is the coaching molded, and specific to each client?
Everything is customized and it’s all based on the needs of the client. Most of my coaching is 1:1, covering a variety of needs. I’ve coached Attorneys, IT professionals, Real Estate professionals and other industries. The coaching is tailored to the individual needs and where they are in their experience. It involves everything from business structure, to sales training to marketing. It’s very experiential, not just discussions.
Before I onboard a potential client, we have 2-3 meetings to discuss their needs and our mutual expectations of our work together. They have to be willing to put in the work.
For example, once we engage, my clients are given a written assignment to do complete so that each meeting contains a review of actionable items and accountability. At the conclusion of our session, they’re then given new actionable items as well as a new assignment due before our next session. I’m very engaged with my clients and send them text messages nearly every day. This works as encouragement and accountability so that real progress and change improvement can occur.
Q: It sounds as though you create the great support system to both take the first step then hold them accountable for steps beyond that.
Yes, change is hard. Sometimes it’s a two steps forward, one step back scenario. We are working with them to change bad habits into good habits. As people are changing their mindset and improving, they’re not even realizing they’re doing it. We help them reflect back, at some point, to help them acknowledge their progress. “Hey, do you remember a month ago when you weren’t doing THIS, but now you’re doing THIS every day and it’s really making you feel better and making a difference?” Starting or doing more of a positive reinforcing habit is just as important as reducing or, in some cases, stopping a negative reinforcing habit. Being aware of and taking these first steps are the keys to improving mindset and being a successful person.
We help them acknowledge the change in their habits. Those actions that are helping them move in a new direction.
Q: How do you think this formula can be applied, and who benefits?
The great thing about this formula is that it can be applied to anything or anyone. It was primarily developed as a business tool to analyze change, but you can easily apply this to your own self-interests, where change is really material to your life.
Particularly now, when people are moving their residence, it’s easier to work through the details of dissatisfaction with the current conditions, what’s the vision of making the move and then taking the first steps. If this is all greater than the resistance to change, you’ll make the move. In just this simple example, it’s the beauty of the formula working in an everyday situation.
Kylie De Guia
Q: What are some possible outcomes you want to share with our audience?
Change is a constant challenge and people generally view it as a combative force. What we’ve found, certainly over the past few years, is that bringing facts and analysis is not always going to ensure people understand change.
A recent story of a network connection is a small, 10-person law firm where the principle asked me about talent assessments and behavioral analysis. It seems they have 3 people (30% of the team….) in the office who have been with the firm for 10 years. They don’t get along with anybody, they feel no need to mentor or participate in others’ growth.
Frankly, that’s my specialty!
I work best with those resistant to change. They’ve been there forever; they know all of the ins and outs. Anyone coming in from the outside, even if it’s an improvement to the process, they’re not listening to rationalization or facts or figures. They want nothing to do with change…
It’s a threat to their identity within the company?
Exactly! Until we unravel and take the time to learn what the “why” is, you’re never going to get to the bottom of it. Perhaps these people had a previous experience where their job was eliminated or they no longer could fit them into the process, and that’s why they don’t want change. Regardless of how it manifests, in the end, it’s usually not that difficult in get to the bottom of it, and then you can make progress. For example, it may be as easy as having a DISC assessment showcasing communication styles, only to reveal to people not getting along that a simple tweak could resolve so many issues between them.
Q: Do you have a story to share of a recent client that you had to convince of the value of making the change they wanted?
I’ve been working with a Technology Director, who had been unemployed for about 2 years. She recently started a new boutique consultancy as a solo-preneur. Having just won a new project with a very large order, she was uncertain she could handle it.
The reason she got the job was her assuring the company that she could, in fact, do it. Then they hired her. She panicked, saying “oh my god, I don’t know what I’m doing!”
She was referred to me by someone I’ve known for about 16 years. She had never had a coach before and was a little leery of having someone essentially tell her what to do. That, and I had only started coaching when we began working together, so that was a concern as well.
After hiring me and following our second coaching session, she took a me aside to say “I do not know how I would have been able to get this far without you!” It meant so much to hear that. She realized that there were so many things that she didn’t know, hadn’t thought of and the process of the things that needed to get done. These were her “aha moments”, and the goal of what I do is to get to more of these moments to achieve results with my client, together.
The other realization was that she now had someone on her side, that she wasn’t “alone” in making this work. That’s especially true in small businesses and solo practitioners. Sometimes the best thing I can do for my clients is to be the supportive ear in shifting away from the negativity of “I can’t” to “how to”.
Q: What more would you like to share with our audience?
My vision and goal are to bring coaching to the world, being the sounding board, and being vested in my clients’ success. This success includes learning and being exposed to other experiences. This is where lifelong growth comes from and I’m for partnering in my clients’ growth.
My closing advice is to be open and available to the environment around you. Just say yes to opportunities. (Saying YES! – we couldn’t agree more!)
Joe DeRamos is a Certified Business and Performance Coach and Trainer with FocalPoint, with over 20 years of experience in management, sales, customer service and training. Joe helps provide clarity and focus to business owners, entrepreneurs and other business professionals in order to help manage time, improve relationships and increase revenues. His fearless optimism coupled with his unique experiences and roles within various lines of businesses allows Joe to bring his unique perspective to a variety of industries to help people reach their goals. Joe loves to work with individuals to improve their business and quality of life in addition to bringing out the best in them. It’s all part of his exemplary commitment to helping improve the lives of those around him and be the “pebble in a pond”.
To reach Joe, please find him at his website or by calling Joe at 847)754-1980
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