October 30, 2016

Today

Millions of us live in a time with no limitations or shortage of ideas swirling around us. But in a world where choice and possibilities seem endless, we can paralyze ourselves from making decisions, creating change, and sharing those ideas

What Will We Do?

You’re looking at ideas right now that you haven’t acted on. Some might need more money, others need more people to help, and several will never get out of your head because you don’t know what steps to take next.

Where Will We Change?

Regret is one of the most destructive emotions we possess and with a layer of hindsight can be a terrible place to reside. Yet if we move on just one of our ideas right now, we can change the course of history. Yes, history. Not just our lives, but millions of others.

How Will We Share?

Our first step is to be brave and share our ideas with someone. They might laugh and scoff, they might say it’s not going to work, but no one who has ever moved any idea along has ever done it on their own.

When Will We Move?

So who cares if they think your idea isn’t worthy, move to the next person, and the next, and the next until you find someone who can help you shape it. And if you remain open to feedback, your idea will improve and grow.

Let's Act Today. Move Today. Share Today.
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October 26, 2016

We're All Afraid

We've heard the old saying ‘starve a fever, feed a cold’. As leaders, what would happen if we applied that to our lives by feeding our passions and not giving any table scraps to our fears? Yes, easier said than done but worth a shot.

Some organizations, for all their efforts, become a dysfunctional environment. This is where I can help. Some don't want to be helped and it's best we leave them to their misery. But perhaps there is an underlying issue that needs to be put on a diet.

Often, much of what we may fear isn’t the big scary monster but simply something we haven’t tried or an instance where we need help from others or a bit more experience. We may have fear while others navigate it with ease and can help us. There will be times the roles are reversed but we need to starve our fears together.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, fear is the enemy.
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October 23, 2016

Motivation - It's Not What You Think

Scientists have tried to explain our existence for as long as we have existed. I hear business owners often claim they want to improve the bottom line while playing lip service to the importance of people – which includes stakeholders and customers. Dan Pink delivered this TEDTalk in 2009 and it’s just as valid today.

If you think you know what motivates people, watch this.


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October 19, 2016

My Priority not Your Emergency

It doesn’t matter what we read or see or share; no one has our experience. No two experiences in the history of humankind have been identical. I may not know what you mean; I cannot understand what you’re saying. I am not you.

John Percy once said “We judge others by their actions but ourselves by our intent.” This is important if you manage people or own a company. You can threaten life or limb but if someone doesn’t want to be on time for the sales meeting, they will not be on time for the sales meeting.

Who am I to say?

If you're a parent, you may not fathom why someone would be angry that you must leave the shareholder’s meeting to pick up kids from day care. Your passion may be golf and you could be outraged that someone bought the land at your favorite club to build homes for hundreds of families.

You can't worry about everything you enjoy in your life because others suffer. But you can be compassionate and understand that life is a lot more that all the crap we spent far too much time obsessing about.

To each their own which is the magic of life.
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October 15, 2016

Are You Good With People?

Time and time again, employee and human resource surveys show us compensation is not the sole driver for our work. We all want to make a good living but if it’s the main reason people work at your company, you may have bigger issues.

If you think you can make people happy with their 2% increase during annual review time, you may have lost the room. Compensate people properly but pay close attention to why they come to work every day. Ask them, get their feedback, and act on it. The majority are unhappy at work and it’s not necessarily because of the work!

Human stuff

It’s all that human stuff that few have time to talk about because they have to deal with the deadline for the client who needs that report by 3pm. However, it is that very human stuff that will eventually affect your relationship with that client.

Those who think they can fool their customers or clients with a smile while they're internal customer service is crumbling, need to give it more thought. What happens outside of the organization begins inside it.

Culture is Critical

It doesn’t matter the industry or level of complexity, pay people properly, give them time to have a life, and remember they have hopes and dreams and feelings and a need to have purpose too.

Some claim that’s too touchy feely and we will agree to disagree. Leadership is about the human side of getting the job done. It begins with understanding the layers of people. And none of us needs to go any further than ourselves to get those answers.

Then we can get back to products and services.
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October 12, 2016

Let's Mean it This Time

It’s been said for generations – leadership is an action, not a title. It comes from inside us, not on a company organizational chart. But when the busy work of business crushes our day, when do we have time to recognize and nurture that in each other?

There are deadlines and customers, meetings and emails, far too many things on the to-do list to make time for the people stuff. But the very reason your business exists is because of people. The supply chain which drives your company and keeps it running is fueled by the people on your team, in your division, in your plant, in your building, in your customers' and suppliers' businesses. It's the six degrees of all of us.

Human Supply Chain

Every human we connect with has goals, dreams, and a life. Our collaboration is not a simple infographic to display on the wall, it’s the living breathing essence of our lives and business.

It's easy to say people are a top priority. It's equally cynical to remark that's just a tightly crafted message for marketing collateral. The day-to-day actions we take one-on-one with each other is what counts.

Make people a priority and results will become clearer.
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October 8, 2016

Ninety-Five Percent

A few weeks ago, I took my mom out for a birthday dinner. It was nice to take her out for a nice meal and catch up. We arrived, they seated us immediately, and the friendly server came over to take our drink order and tell us about the specials. We pursued the menu and ordered our meal.

Our food arrived and that’s when the evening went downhill. Mine was cold; mom’s was overdone; it was an epic fail. I called our server over and told her that our meals weren’t good and she immediately offered a refund and a free replacement meal for each of us. But we decided to skip the whole thing and I took mom home with the promise of a rain check at a different restaurant.

Order Up

Our dinner was a disaster but the restaurant handled it well. They offered to remove the original order from my bill and give us a free dinner right then and there. It was our choice to leave and we may never return. But the point is they tried to fix it right away. Their apologies were sincere; no one got flustered; they handled it well.

That’s the 95%. That’s the majority of what your company is and it has nothing to do with what you do or sell. It’s your people, your customer service, your ability to handle conflict, your capacity to deal with change and potential conflict.

They Did It Right

I may try this restaurant again, but that’s not the point. The real take away was how they dealt with it and treated us with care and respect. We didn’t make a fuss, we didn’t storm out, and we did demand to see the manager or yell and scream. We simply decided our meals weren’t good and we didn’t want to order anything else. But they did try and make it right.

Conflict and communication breakdown happens. It’s what we do about it that really matters. You will mess up with customer and clients, so will I. You will make mistakes, so will I. It’s called being human. But it’s how we deal with it in the heat of any moment that counts most. It’s that connective tissue within your company and relationships with those who engage with your services or buy your products that is critical. And it’s how we take care of things when things don't go well.

That’s the 95% which will separate you from everyone else.
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October 4, 2016

Hindsight is Easy

The red element on the stove means it’s hot. The amber light means slow down. The object 100 yards ahead of our car may be danger. These are things we have learned are to be avoided. Is it critical to look back and sift through evidence, examine results, and take to the present the lessons we learned? In part, yes. But beating ourselves up over the past in the comfort of now is dangerous.

Celebrating what worked is important. Letting go of those lessons to make room to do it better this time is the point, but what if this time is slightly different or we don't see it coming until after it happens?

Warning Signs

You may have learned the hard way as a kid not to touch the stove element again. Perhaps it was your experience with a punctured tire at 2am in the thunderstorm that ensured you would swerve around foreign objects on the road again. Learning from the past is important; embracing the lessons is critical.

We may not see the next stove element, road object, or conflict before it arrives. Perhaps the only way to manage that uncertainty is to understand we may mess up again and perfection is an impossible pursuit.

We only ever have right now.
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October 1, 2016

You Will Never Be Ready

When I was a kid, my parents would try and tell me to enjoy life and not get too caught up in the minutiae, but they did all the time. Now that my mom is in her late 70's, we're able to have wicked discussions about life and her common message remains clear - don't live with regrets. If you want that relationship, go for it. If you want to try that new job, don't wait for an invitation.

This is not a new revelation; we've been saying and reading it our entire lives. The classic; no one will be on their death bed wishing they had spent more time at the office. But it's deeper than that. It's more than what we do for a paycheck or even better a passion that pays our bills. It's ubiquitous; it doesn't go away after work or on the weekends. It's with us always.

What are we gonna do about it?

I saw this wonderful quote recently from actor Hugh Laurie and it's been rattling around in my grey matter ever since and it sums it up nicely. The question isn't whether we have the guts or time or ability or talent or money to go for it. It's a much deeper yet simpler issue.

“It's a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you're ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.” Hugh Laurie
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