Monday, July 26, 2010

Delivering Happiness: MUST READ

I spent a wonderful Sunday afternoon in the sunshine reading the book:
"Delivering Happiness" by Tony Hsieh - CEO, Inc
WOW! What a read!
Big lessons for me:
  • happiness is from the connections you have with others and the work you do
  • if you hit the alarm clock to snooze too many days in a row, you need to evaluate if you are still happy (and in love) with what you are doing
  • risk - take risks, be humble, look for opportunity
  • build a culture that suits your business - the fact that Zappos is so open and transparent gives me hope that the future for everyone is just a little brighter!
  • happiness comes from the ability to align yourself with a higher purpose - to truly be happy, finding purpose will exceed the strength of pleasure
Finally:  Envision, create, and believe in your own universe.
Thank you Tony!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Easy Steps to Networking

Networking easy? For some, sure, it is as easy as getting out of bed in the morning. For others, not at all, they may as well be asked to walk over hot coals. The challenge of networking is two-fold: making time to do it, and then getting out there. With the following steps, networking can be a great way to start building relationships that could lead to big business. 

Remember - networking is about connect - in a meaningful way.  You aren't out there looking for another coffee-buddy, you are looking for business contacts and business!

1: always have clean business cards with you. Do not hand out cards that have been straggling at the bottom of your briefcase or in the glove compartment of your car all bent and covered in coffee stains. Have cards on you in a carrying case – not very expensive and it looks professional when you take your cards out of it. Remember, the impression you are presenting at this time is how much you care for your marketing material. That could easily translate to how much you care for and prepare for your clients.

2: Listen. Ask questions about the person. Focus attention on them and genuinely listen to the responses. Maintain eye contact and respond to the feedback in the conversation. Ask for a business card and provide one of yours.  Asking a creative question can help you remember the person if you are not good at remembering names.  For example...ask about a pet, or favourite restaurant - it gives you an opening for a future conversation or follow up call.

3: Give yourself reminders. Write a note or two on the business cards you are given. This will provide you with something to say or write in follow up communication and help you remember who the card came from and the business associated with the card and person. A reminder could include passing along this new person’s information to someone who you know could use it if you cannot at the moment.

4: Follow up. Have a system in place for follow up. A database with all relevant information for contacting the business owners and a plan to communicate with them over the next few days by phone or email will get the relationship started. Future follow up on news and events can happen both by phone and email or even newsletter offer to continue to build the relationship.

With the ever-changing and ever-challenging business environment that exists today, we need to capitalize on every opportunity to make a contact and start building a relationship. Relationships develop and build trust, you will then get the sale or client signed up. Networking is the perfect way to do this but it will only work if you work the network – meet, ask questions, follow up, be out there!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Have Courage

There are a lot of words that can describe courage - bravery, guts, nerve, daring, pluck, even audacity and heroism. If you act authentically, you will definitely be a person who has courage. Courage is not only for leaders and risk-takers; courage is a trait you have when you act within your values.

Acting authentically tells us that you have a set of values that reflect in every decision that you make, every action you complete, every thought that you have. Many times we can be pulled in directions that may not correspond to our values. This is the time that courage steps up and helps us to find the decision or action that keeps us true to ourselves. You could call yourself ‘plucky’ at this time!

Having courage to do what is right, even in the face of doing what is easy takes courage and the risk you assume by doing so, may lead you to understand how you operate in the face of adversity and pressure. Keeping a strong focus on our values makes having ‘guts’ easier.

Following that, we can also say that standing up against what is wrong and speaking out to defend others who need it can certainly be called courageous and brave – think of the last time you spent a few minutes debating right and wrong with someone. Did you step in to the conversation to make a point because you felt compelled to help them understand your viewpoint? Did you take a risk by doing this? You acted with your conscience and values – congratulations! You are courageous.

Here are a few circumstances that define courage:

Following your heart instead of your peers

Staying out of gossip and disrespectful behavior

Letting others take the lead for their own benefit instead of your own

Taking responsibility for your actions


Sticking to your message, even when others do not agree

Follow the rules – be the example that everyone follows

Look for better ways to do everything – challenge and continuously improve

How courageous are you?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Who Do You Spend Time with Everyday?

When I worked in retail, my early morning hours were spent walking the salesfloor with an Assistant Manager reviewing the previous nights work for execution, roadblocks and recognition for the team. I would spend a few minutes in each area reviewing and discussing what took place and what would be happening next including everyone who would be involved in the process. I found that this helped keep everyone on track and engaged. They would offer their opinions and experience and quickly we could make decisions that could drive our business forward. Sounds daunting right? Well, it only took about 45 minutes – and it set the tone for work for the next day or sometimes even week.
After we were operational for the day, I would spend my time with each Assistant Manager who operated an area of the salesfloor. Here we would review high performance, and low performance. We would try to learn from the high performing people and apply the information to the low performers to see if we could change the tide. In most cases this worked. But for the longest time, I neglected the mid-range, ‘always-good’ performers, the steady performers who always did a good job but stayed out of the radar.
I quickly learned that I needed to spend time here to understand what they knew, how they learned all they know and then share the information with the rest of the team. Spending this time with them built their confidence, provided much-needed recognition and even elevated some performance to a higher level. A straight-forward thank you would get rewarded by more performance. Imagine that!?

Critical lesson: everyone needs attention and recognition. The level of attention and type of recognition needs to be applied by the level of performance to continue to engage and develop that team member.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Tried Twitter....and I LIKE It!

I have recently become at Twitter junkie....I was worried that when I got my account started I would become addicted and never put down my Blackberry or get off the laptop.  Luckily a colleague helped me sort this out and I actually plan time each day to get onto Twitter and look at the tweets, find new people to follow, send some and reply to some, even retweet.  I have met an interesting array of people, and can now follow all that interest me.

But a junkie - I am now getting into the habit of showing others how effective it can be.  For me Twitter is a learning tool, a way to get myself into new networks and attract potential clients.  Twitter is all about business...I keep my personal life out of it.  After all, who needs to know what I am doing this weekend unless I would like you to attend a business-related event with me!

The lesson here is TRY IT.  Try something new to get out into the world.  I have learned a lot already from others and hope that by people following me, they can also learn and develop.  The world is getting smaller so why not try to meet as many people as possible?

Leadership Solstice