Archives For business

cubiclesHere’s a great question the Wizard asks, and I’ve heard others ask it in a slightly different way: “Why would a person choose to do business with you at all?”

How you answer that question says a lot about you, your business, and the way you go about your business. Ask these questions as well:

Why do you do what you do?

Why do you do it the way you do it?

Who are you trying to do business with?

What are you trying to accomplish?

What do you need to change about the way you do things now?

Answer these questions after a good, hard self-evaluation and you will be well on your way to improving yourself and your business – even if you’re not the big boss.

Seth Godin Quote

December 30, 2013 — Leave a comment

bellA few weeks ago, Seth Godin sent this out in his blog post for the day:

The sound of a small bell during a dark night …is louder than the din of traffic outside your window during rush hour.

Surprise and differentiation have far more impact than noise does.”

Do you agree with him?

Why or why not?

Do you want to be different? Would you like to surprise your audience, your clients, your team? How can you stand out from so much noise around us?

Overnight Success

November 5, 2013 — Leave a comment

Have you heard of those overnight success stories? You know the ones: the companies that were low on the radar and then went stellar. Companies like MicroSoft or IBM or Apple or KFC, etc, etc.

You’ve probably heard of these companies or others just like them and wished your start up would become the next “over-night” success story to join this stellar crowd. The only problem is: none of them are “over-night” success stories. Just ask them.

Years of doing the hard work of starting a company along with the years of developing your unique product or service plus the time spent on developing your unique market niche all adds up to what others see as and call an “over-night” success.success2

The true over-night flash is NOT the norm. It can and does happen, but rarely. What happens all too often is what I’ve mentioned above. It’s only perceived to be an “over-night” success because people were unaware of the company or the product/service until you or it begins the rise to stardom. Once you hit the radar of the general populace, that’s when people take notice and you have your “15 minutes of fame”.

And voila: you’re an “over-night” success!

Now get over yourself and go do it again.

Imagine the Possibilities

September 10, 2013 — Leave a comment

TeamupWhat would happen if instead of sending employees to separate trainings each year, you were to choose one and attend it together? You might just save the organization money by cutting down on travel expenses, meals on the road, housing while at the training, etc.

It may mean instead that you bring the training/trainer to you rather than hitting the road, but it will do more to foster unity on a subject of importance to the group.  I’m sure you can think of someone that would inspire your team and be able to bring the message your team needs to hear. Notice I did not say the message you need to hear. So it will take a bit of discovery on your part to think through what your team needs at this point in their journey.

It will also take some planning on your part, to coordinate the time for everyone, to schedule the speaker/trainer, to arrange for your facilities, to coordinate travel for the speaker, etc. But look at the impact you could have.

It may very well entail taking the entire team off site to a specific conference or training event. And that might be costly, but think about the dividends your organization will reap if each team member is on the same page having gone through the same training.

Someone once said, “Teams that train together, remain together.”

Train on.

PeopleAt a recent conference I attended, Jim Collins referenced the concept in the title above from his book, Good to Great, chapter 3. As he did so, he asked some pointed questions to drive the concept even deeper. Allow me to share a few with you and comment on them as well.

1)    Do we have the right people on the bus and are 95% of our key seats filled with the right people? Here’s an interesting thought. If you’ve read Collins’ book you are familiar with the idea of getting the right people in the right seats on the bus. But have you gone even further and ensured that at least 95% of your key seats are filled with the right people?

I have to admit, I had never thought that question through. In the organizations I’ve led or are currently leading, I’ve never attempted to achieve that high of a percentage of the key seats filled with the right people. And it caused me to start the process of critiquing the organizations with which I’m involved.

The key positions/seats – are they currently filled with the right people? I thought they were – since I did most of the recruiting and hiring. I assumed that they were the right people, but I had to ask myself, “when was the last time I evaluated how effective they were in their position?” And, “was my assumption based merely on what I wanted to believe or was it actually true?”

2)    “Who do you want to mentor you?” was another question he posed. And that led to, “Who do you want to work with?” Or to put it another way, “Who do you want around you?” If we take the time or make the time to answer those questions truthfully, it will tell us a lot about the people we will attract to our team.

Say, for instance, that you determine that you want independent thinkers around you that team will take on that vibe. Or perhaps you’re wanting to work with a team of “creatives”, that team will look somewhat different than another team. So once again we need to think first who before thinking what.

Two important questions we all need to answer as we move forward into our second half – whether it’s the second half of our career or the second half of our life. Putting people ahead of the tasks that need to be accomplished can be difficult for some, but by asking the right questions you can transition from good to even better than great.

Remember to keep it in the proper order; first who, then what.

How can you apply that today?

Increase Your ROL

August 22, 2013 — Leave a comment

I’ve read several good articles on how to increase your ROI. I’ve also read some not so great articles on the subject. But today I’d like to discuss how to increase your ROL. Haven’t heard of that one? It’s a Jim Collins term referring to your Return on Luck! Yes, you heard that right, Your Return on Luck.


Now I can hear those of you out there in blog land laughing while you shake your heads and say, “Luck? Who makes business decisions based on luck?” And then, “Luck is luck, you can’t increase or decrease your effect on it.” Ah, but I beg to differ, and so would Mr. Collins, I believe.

First, we have to admit that there are two types of luck – both good and bad. Then we have to accept Mr. Collins’ definition of luck. Here’s what he says, my translation, luck involves three unique things: 1) you didn’t cause it; 2) it has potentially significant consequences; and 3) it involves some sense of surprise.

He reports that in most of the companies he studies that went from good to Great, the CEO’s would say it was good luck if their company really succeeded, and would take the blame if their company did worse than expected. He saw this as another form of humility among those “level 5 leaders.”

So can we increase our Return on Luck by adapting our strategies for both good luck and bad? I think we not only can, but need to – just so we are prepared. For instance, what do we do if the widget we’re selling catches on, production ramps up and we are now multi-gazillionaires? We need to have a plan in place before that happens that helps us deal with that level of success.

In the other extreme, what do we do if the non-profit we’ve formed to end hunger in one generation just doesn’t get the funding it needs to get off the ground – and that great idea is pushed to the back of the shelf to gather more dust? We need to have a contingency plan in place also before that situation occurs.

So, the question becomes, how do we deal with it when we get hit with it? Either good or bad, how are we going to deal with it? We’ve heard stories of people who win a lottery or some other windfall lands in their lap and they have nothing in their system that will allow them to cope with a new way of living. I know, many of us say, “We’d really like to see what that’s like!” But if we don’t have something in place to help us deal with wealth, it might lead to our undoing.

And as you head up your organization, or your part of your organization, or let’s just get to the bottom line since we all are responsible for the organization of You, Inc. – what plans do you have in place to handle either good luck or bad luck as CEO of You, Inc.?

Does your good fortune lead you to being more humble or do you take all the credit and the limelight? Do your negative circumstances cause you to search for new and better ways of doing what you do, or do they cause you to become cynical and give up?

Here’s the rub: the choice is yours when it comes to how you react to either good or bad luck.

So you tell me – how will you respond luck shows up?

Please excuse the shameless play on words, but stay with me for a moment. Do you know how before actually coming into the main part of the building most buildings have a foyer that you enter and proceed through?

grande foyer

Well, just like those buildings, before we can lead others we need to focus on four “yours” to lead ourselves well.

1.  Yourself.

We need to focus on leading ourselves so that we can say to others, “been there, done that, now you can too.” That way we’re not asking those on our team to do something that we wouldn’t do. They know that we’ve already done the task – so it is doable, and has already been done at least once, by someone on their team.

Also, when we begin with ourselves it communicates that we are not placing ourselves above the others of our team. We are no better than they are and we’re all in this together. There is no “top-down” flow of power, no lack of accountability and every member of the team is responsible for honing their leadership skills.

2.  Your history.

You have a wealth of experiences that are unique to you alone. You are valuable to your team for that very reason! You also have a unique set of gifts, talents, passions along with your history. Put that all together and you are able to bring to your team a perspective that none other can.

Because of you being uniquely you, you need to learn how to lead from your unique position. Others may not always see from your viewpoint, but it is necessary nonetheless. And we need you to lead from your unique giftedness!

3. Your plans.

You also have unique dreams, plans, and ideas that need to be shared – if for no other reason than because we may not have ever thought about that. John Lennon penned those famous words, “you may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one” and his words are still true today.

What dreams do you have and how can you lead from them?

4.  Your emotions.

Are you beginning to detect a pattern here? You also have a unique set of emotions that defines you. You can combine them with your gifts and dreams and lead as no other person can.

So why not begin today to lead from your “four-your”? Once you do, your leadership will take on new-found strength and power.

We are all eager to see how that will play out. Share with us how you’re leading through your unique “four-your” – it could spur someone else on to do great things.