March 28, 2017

Everything to Everyone

You may often hear others claim they’re good with people or they can increase the bottom line. Those are excellent attributes but need to be further defined and refined. For fear of being specific and potentially losing a deal, many will promise to help anyone who asks them and that can be a dangerous tactic.

Many of us have fallen victim of the plan of trying to have an offer with a wide scope. But if we say everyone is our target customer we can be in trouble. Some feel they don't want to limit their potential. But if we narrow our focus, we can become stronger in those areas we can help the most. We often see this in the start-up world; the company starts to get legs and the offering widens which can be dangerous.

Do one thing really well

The retail space has gotten fuzzy over the last decade. You can buy groceries at your pharmacy and furniture in your electronics store. Widening the offer is watering down the focus and may appear to be working but is actually hurting many of the large companies attempting this strategy.

If you’ve ever been to a general store in a small town it’s like a different world. You can buy everything from candy to camping equipment. But if you looked at your business and more importantly how you grow your team, you probably wouldn’t think it wise to be too wide and hire generalists. Shifting into areas that get away from our strengths in order to grow revenue and market share can be tempting. Doing what we do well, more often, can often be the wiser tactic.

Sometimes offering less can create a lot more.
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March 25, 2017

Leadership and the General Ledger

The foundation of your business is people. That’s not some fluffy nice to have statement; it has been scientifically proven. If you have good relationships in your business, your chances of success will exponentially improve. If you view the human stuff as a waste of time, or a job for someone else, your company will be built on sand. And this is not something to do only during quarterly or annual reviews.

If you asked any business leader if they would like to have the most talented people on their team, it's certain they would resoundingly say yes! Who doesn't want the best?

Open Mind Policy

But if you were to subsequently ask them what specific daily steps are they personally making to ensure that happens, the answers could become a bit vaguer. I'm not referring to the employee handbook or some slick delegation process someone else oversees – steps they do themselves.

Now ask yourself those same two questions. You want the best, but what are you doing today – not monthly or in your weekly wrap-up meetings or some all-staff email – but today, to help your team be the best?

Your answer is not about better services or products.
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March 22, 2017

One Question

We work thousands of hours each year. Life gets busy. There are deadlines and meetings, commitments and activities. Someday becomes part of our daily routine. We plan for the future, we look forward to a time when we'll have more time or money.

Then suddenly another decade is gone. And no matter how much time or money we spend, we cannot change the past. That is what is going on in each of us, in each of the people in our organization, in each of our clients. That is what is happening with everyone you meet on social channels, in the grocery store, at that business function, in your company. None of us escapes it.

Filmmaker Kamil Krolak asked the same question to fifty people. What's your answer?


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March 18, 2017

One Mann's Opinion

My grade 10 history teacher proclaimed there is no such thing as an unbiased opinion. News agencies have purported they are your source for the real stories void of any slant or partiality. Marketing companies create campaigns to convince us this is the best product there ever has existed in that category. Some leaders espouse open collaboration whilst showing clear favoritism to some employees. We all do it even though we may claim to be unbiased.

So when two people are having a conversation – they begin with their own bias, opinion, and experience. It doesn’t start on even footing. You and I may think we agree on something but there are nuances we may not discuss. And if we continue to make them along the way, in short order, we could be far apart from each other because we make assumptions we’re on the same proverbial page.

No expectations

In a team environment, making assumptions can be dangerous as well. It can be difficult to keep that in check if you have been working together for a while. There's a dance and an unspoken language among a group that forms over time. So if you do regular check-ins with each other, it can create even stronger collaborative situation.

I have opinions, you have biases, we have our own view. If we simply ask each other, we may discover a better way of looking at the world.

That's just my opinion.
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March 13, 2017

Meet Sue Austin

Like you, I’ve seen and read plenty of content on how to get out of our heads or push through adversity, and more will be required as we live our lives, but I wanted something different, something that would be a good stiff kick in the butt.

Leadership isn't about being in control when the road is straight and dry but rather handling difficulties and unforeseen curves along the way.

This is Sue Austin


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March 9, 2017

Count the I's

Involve - We've heard the tired cliche countless times; "There’s no “I” in team”. I disagree and here's why.

Imagine - We travel in packs, so it’s safe to say you more often work in a team environment. A group of people all wandering in different directions can be extremely dangerous. When we can share ideas with each other, magic can happen.

Inspire - One of the coolest television shows ever was Long Way Down featuring actor Ewan McGregor along with his best mate and fellow actor Charley Boorman. This was the follow-up to their original trip entitled Long Way Around which began in April 2004. The goal was to take the long way around the earth - on motorcycles.

Instigate - Charley, Ewan and their crew left from London, crossed over to mainland Europe then rode to France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada, into the U.S. and finally arrived in NYC. You don’t just wake up one more morning and try this. It takes a lot of preparation and a lot of people.

Integrate - In January 2004 the boys began intense physical training which included weights, boxing, and cardio. In between workouts, they joined the rest of the team for intense road planning research. They also had to educate themselves on issues such as possible bear attacks, language barriers, passports, every possible weather condition, medicine, proper supplies and just for fun there was a television crew filming everything from day one.

Improve - They also had to be trained to deal with survival issues, possible hostile environments and of course first-aid. Nutritionists, GPS experts and seasoned outdoor travelers were consulted. This was all to prepare for their mammoth trip.

Implement - Three years later, they wanted to do another trip. This time, Scotland to South Africa. The same detail had to go in to this trip as with the last. They ran in to some passport issues and Ewan broke his leg which delayed things. But when you see them riding their bikes around the Great Pyramid of Giza or stopping to bungee jump over Victoria Falls, it's proof the prep was well worth it. Long Way Around was 115 days covering 15,000 miles. Long Way Down covered more than 20,000 miles in 85 days.

Initiate - You may not have the desire to spend twelve months of your life training and riding motorcycles but the elements are the same. Working in a team environment takes many moving parts and many talented people who can take thoughts and turn them into actions and results.

You have to imagine the ideainspire the rest of the team to get moving; integrate everyone involved; then implement the plan.

Count the I's in your team.
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March 4, 2017

Six False Beliefs

These have been published in numerous psychology articles and on various websites over the years and are worth considering when we're facing life's issues.

Unwanted moments are to be avoided at all costs. You are only as valuable, or worthless, as other people agree that you are.

You are responsible for the happiness or unhappiness that others feel. You must learn to tolerate friends and family who have agreed to live with and justify negative states.

You can change what happened yesterday by revisiting and reliving it today. Feeling deeply stressed proves you really care about whatever you’re suffering over.

Don't listen to the false beliefs.
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© 2017 Kneale Mann | knealemann@gmail.com | people + priority = profit
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