Wednesday, December 28, 2011

So What.

It is time to ask the magic question about the year that was. So what?

So what happened?

What was good?

What was not so good?

So what are you going to do differently?

So what are you going to avoid?

So what? What came of your accomplishments?

So what. It is true when you put it that way. So what .
Did you make a difference to someone or something? So what. Are you proud of where you are today? Do you know where you are going tomorrow? And how are you going to commit to it?

Ask yourself the So What question as you set your goals for 2012.  Let's share our goals, or even one goal so that we can offer support for each other.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Day of Light

Today is a day of light.  No matter what you celebrate at this time of year, you are celebrating light....time moving forward, daylight growing, Winter moving towards Spring.

This is a time of reflection (and you need light to have a reflection).  Here is a toast to the light in your life.  May it always shine brightly and lead you on the journey that you intend....many blessings for a Merry Christmas and time of light.

Thank you for being a starlight in my life.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Vacation

You remember this movie right...Chevy Chase & Christmas Vacation.  I have been thinking a lot about  the emotions that surround the holidays.  This movie certainly portrays them all:
  • as much as you want family to visit (and stay) you also want time with just your spouse and kids
  • as much as we all have a Cousin Eddy to provide comic relief, there is also truth and even sadness that is hiding within the jokes and happy outlook
  • out of the mouths of babes come the most detailed observations of what is really happening in a family
  • that there is always so much to do to get ready and the the turkey  - it's over.
  • there is resilience - no matter what, we go back for more
  • there is the wish to give the best Christmas ever, including the best Christmas gift - face it, you cannot give a pool every year.
So now we are faced with the last one....guilt. ....and I am not talking about food. I am in a space in life where everything seems to collide instead of connect. Not what I am used to. I am usually the middle person ( and being a middle child this makes sense) and I can find my way while focusing on the rest of the season, when I get to this time of year, emotions see, to take over. There is a certain part of my life that can actually rip me apart with the point where I can understand how some people can hate the holiday season.

I think I have finally learned how to make sense of the guilt I was/am used to feeling around them. It is now time to put away the past and stay front and center, no longer looking in the rear view mirror and thinking of all the what ifs and instead focusing on the why nots.

Christmas was difficult when our family was going through the divorce and two different households, now with one house, we are starting our own new traditions that will hopefully take us through our next steps of generation-building as a family. While we always take time to reflect on our year and accomplishments, we have not really sat and planned the next year together. This will be a first for us. We are also hosting a Christmas Eve dinner with friends ...ours and our boys friends.

This will be our nuclear family time. Starting out on our own...and finding our way together.

(Thank you for indulging me in a not so traditional leadership post....but then again, as a leader in my family, this must be said takes time to grow and learn.  I thank the shining stars for them everyday!)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Solstice Arrives

Late tonight the Winter Solstice arrives.  This is always a special time for me to reflect on my business.  The solstice is the time where the sun reaches the southernmost point over the northern hemisphere - as far away as it can get.

We named this coaching practice after the Solstice because of the measure of the the earth turns toward and away from the sun at different points....but always turning and always changing and ever growing and finding new ways to see each other. 

In essence, this is what coaching does for my clients.  New ways to see, new ways to change, new perspectives on distance and changes that happen so quickly in business - which really has a seasonal flow to it, just as the sun and the earth do.

Celebrate the changes.  Celebrate the season.  Learn more about Solstice Group:  Coaching for Entrepreneurs & Executives.  After all - the new year is just around the corner.

Monday, December 5, 2011

2012 Marketing Blueprint

I mentioned that I was thinking a lot about my business.  I have worked hard to develop an easy process so that I can marry my business goals to marketing in an easy-to-do, easy-to-track manner.  Here is it....
and I am giving it to you.
I will be hosting a LIVE Workshop and online webinars this month to share my SECRET  - I have finally put it on paper in a step-by-step order so that I can share it with you.
Join me - there are a variety of dates and times available...even time for private sessions in your office.
Of course, I have one date in January, in case you are behind in this planning.

Why did I develop this?  I have found that many business leaders use the plan in their heads and hopefully find some way to tell the world about it.  Not only for marketing, but also for their business plan - where are the focus areas, who are the key target markets, what are the key focus products/services...many companies do not have this plan on paper.  Why not?  Never did it before, is the usual answer I get.

Learn more about the 2012 Marketing Blueprint. - see how this can change your business!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Unique Start to 2012

Thinking about my business also means thinking about my unique abilities and understanding how to use them better and get rid of the other stuff (thanks Alynn for the work here).

That being said, I have focused more time on providing you with webinars and workshops, downloads and services that focus you on developing your leadership. One of my unique abilities is facilitation - so guess what?
The Goal Getter 2012 Webinar is coming to you on December 9th at 1pm EST.  You must be on this webinar - it will cost you nothing except for 1 hour of your time and a little head-space around your goals.

Check out all the information here - Goal Getters 2012.

Are you planning resolutions for 2012?  Join me and change that to goals - easier to accomplish, better for your self-esteem!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Many Thanks to You!

2011 - The Authority on Business Advice
I would like to thank my clients, supporters and friends - those who nominated me, voted for me and those who were there in spirit for the wonderful award I received in November called 'The Authority on Business Advice'.
I am honoured.
I am touched.
I am inspired by the business leaders in my community who are looking for ways to develop their own leadership potential and that of those around them.  You are a gift.

In my thank you speech I mentioned my boys- husband and kids! - they support me endlessly.  Most importantly I spoke about the opportunity to be back in a city that is changing - growing, fostering innovation, reinvention and development.  Windsor Ontario is home.  And I am proud of it!

Take a moment and think about your business.  I have been thinking about mine a lot in the last few weeks. 
  • Does your business model foster innovation or clearly remove it from the picture - keep the status quo - what ain't broke, don't fix?
  • Does your mind look to reinvention? To new ways to do old things?  To improvements to products, services or brand?
  • Do you focus on the future while working in the present?  Are you planning to develop - yourself, your business and your people?
More to follow on what I have been thinking about my business in the weeks leading up to the end of the year ....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What I Never Expected to Learn

Funny how the roads you travel on in the different facets of your life seem to converge every once in a while and land you right at not a cross-roads,  or even an intersection, more of a vortex that you can wade through..
What am I talking about?
I had the pleasure last week of filling 3 days with learning.  In Leadership Windsor-Essex our day was spent discussing and experiencing health and human services.  This was eye-opening to say the least.  I am now beginning to understand how human services work in my area - not sure of my conclusions yet...will keep you posted.

I spent another 2 days visiting Atlanta Georgia for a Host Retreat for Leadercast - an event my business partner and I host each year in May with the support of the St. Clair College Alumni Association.  This was an opportunity to connect with other host site facilitators as well as the company that sponsors the event - Chick-fil-A.  This is one of the most interesting (and amazing) companies I have ever visited.  The basis of their values is quite simple -
  Do not be a transaction company....give value beyond the transaction.  And there is a lot more to say with this....but I digress.
It was in connecting with the 187 other sites that attended that I learned about how others promote Leadercast and why they do it.  Not only why, but where.  It was the generosity of spirit and guidance the truly impacted me.  This, along with learning how these community leaders move forward and take care of each other in each community.  Many of the hosts are ministries or churches  - and their focus is on developing the leadership in their community so that they can all move forward together.  This is also our reason - for providing hope and inspiration, along with a day of networking and community about leadership.  I guess what really struck me was how they take Leadercast beyond, how it is integral to the work they do.  It was truly a transformational event.
Coming back to the city, I prepared for a fundraising and awareness event for Homelessness Awareness week which started on Saturday - again..the vortex continued to expand in my vision.
I never expected to be treated like royalty at the Detroit Metro Airport - amazing service.
I never expected to be taken care of and appreciated in the manner that Giant Impaet did this week.
I never expected to meet as many focused and like-minded individuals.
I never expected to look in the mirror and see a changed person looking back.
Who did you see when you looked in the mirror this morning?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why Bother Blogging?

I spend time working with clients on developing their brand (and reputation) online.  I focus here because it is a great place to discuss their leadership, their values and their mission + those of their company. 

Alignment is critical.  Especially when you want to tell your story.  Alignment and Authenticity - the two 'A's' of credibility - walking your talk.

Blogging is a great way to tell your story and the story of others.  Some people blog for fun, others for business, some to be creative - have an outlet, and others blog to vent, show another side of themselves.  There are so many reasons and so many platforms.  I try to encourage my clients to blog - it builds traffic, creates a space for your words and deeds, gives you an opportunity to engage and interact, gives a more detailed place to provide insight...and it can be posted to other social engagement platforms - LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and more. 

I was reading stats in Sandy Carter's book 'Get Bold' and it said that in the next 5 years more than 20% of CEO's will blog.  This is an incredibly important stat with great ramifications - leaders blog.  Leaders engage. Leaders tell stories.  Leaders need to stay current with technology and up to date with the people they hire.  As the Millenials come into the workforce, and those beyond them, leaders will need to talk their language and speak in their forums...not the other way around.

Want to learn more about blogging?  Let me know.  Let me teach you my lessons that I learned along the way so that you don't have to make my mistakes!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Learnings

Interesting how kids interpret your work.  My son spent the day with me on Take Your Kids to Work day and he did learn a few things.

He decided that I spend too much time at the computer - and that I need someone to talk things out with on a regular basis because I would keep reading him things I wrote and ask what he thought.

He believes that I collect too many business cards and know too many people - after looking at LinkedIn with me and seeing how I use this social network to build my brand.

He also thinks that it is pretty cool that I can be flexible with my schedule and got to go for a run in the late morning because the weather was awesome - and yes, he did get to play Xbox while I was out.

Most importantly, he learned that you can do what you love and still earn a living and find balance with everything - a routine is not necessarily something that happens at the same time everyday - that work gets done due to effort and passion....not a simple checklist.

It was fun - he even investigated a few things for his own career.....imagine that!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mindset Change

Change is an action and a mindset.  Implementing action is one part of the equation, getting the mindset to change is another completely.  Focusing first on the mind, then the physical change can sometimes be less taxing because you will better understand the reasoning behind the change and why your actions need to take place.  How do you inspire a change in mindset?
  1. Listen - before all else listen and learn what the change holds for your team, or yourself.  'What's in it for me?' is the first question that will go through the minds of those with whom you are discussing the change.  Get that down first.
  2. Link - be able to articulate the change and link the change to all people involved - all stakeholders - from leaders, team members, shareholders, customers and even the community.  By articulating how the change can effect everyone, the idea that this change is singularly focused on a particular area or individual is mitigated.
  3. Understand - be able to provide examples of the change - direct examples of how each area would be impacted and the positive outcomes that will occur with the change. (Go back to listen to the roadblocks that will come up with this discussion and work together to develop plans to eliminate the roadblocks)
  4. Believe - be confident in the change, or do not make it.  Without confidence you will not get buy-in..others will see it as impossible.
  5. Seek - search for the one positive communicator who can help you share your message - an early-adopter.  They can also provide insight into the negative thoughts of others and how to overcome that negativity.
  6. Act - repeated behaviour gets remembered.  As the leader, model the way.  (If it is your mind that is having trouble getting around the change, try it - it will need to happen eventually and working through the process yourself will help you see the roadblocks that could appear for others along the way, helping you to develop ways to support your team)
What changes have you made recently that started with your mind and led to your actions?  How did you role this out to your team?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Take Your Kids to Work Day

Today is take your kids to work day in our area.  My son asked if he could work with me - my office is in my home....thought he could get in a little extra X-box and stuff like that.  Not so much!  We have appointments and projects that need completing.  He is about to find out how this 'work-from-home' gig really goes.

I remember this day from when I was in corporate world.  Kids would come into the store or the office and work side by side with their parents or sponsors.  We would set up a tour, a Q&A session and more - they would write an essay on the day and explain what they learned.  My son's school is asking for nothing in return - so I guess this is just a day off for the Grade 9 teachers....Why send kids to work, to discover the opportunities that are out in the world and ask for nothing in return.  Is this a learning experience or what?

Those of you who know me by now, know that this will be a learning experience.  We'll talk, we'll dialogue, ask questions and of course, I will ask him for the 3 things he learned today.  I will post the learnings later for you to see.

Have a great day!  I know we will.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Community Action...OMG!

Part of being in Leadership Windsor-Essex is to complete a Community Action Project.  The team I am on - PFTL - has taken on a project with the Homeless Coalition to fill 300 backpacks for the homeless in Windsor and Essex County.  Our team of 5, and our extended teams through the Coalition partnerships have developed a plan to get these backpacks filled with personal items.

Listening to Romeo Dallaire last night at the Leadership Windsor-Essex Dinner, he put it vary plainly when he said that leadership is about committing yourself to others, no matter what it takes - here is our opportunity to commit ourselves to others.

Very often, homeless people do not have anywhere to keep the very few possessions they have.  The backpacks will provide them with something of their very own that can keep their belongings safe and secure.

Just to keep everyone in the loop, check out the pages that have now been posted to the blog - see the tabs across the top - you will see our Operation Backpack Call to Action and the List of Required Items.
Thanks to Can-Am Native Homes and W.E.S.T. of Windsor for already providing donations.

Our plan is to collect items in November and disrtibute the backpacks in February 2012.  I will keep you posted on more details here!

Have any ideas that can help us? Please share!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Welcome to Solstice Life

I am merging my blogs this week.
Please check out this link to see all the details:

When it becomes time to focus, all energy must flow in the same direction.

Look forward to some carry over from the old blog to compliment the topics on this one.

Leadership Not to Do will still exist on it's own as it is the opposite to this topic.
Visit that blog: and share your 'not' leadership stories.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Catalyst Session 2

Another excellent Catalyst session last night with new people  - all in a variety of industries and interestingly enough, focused on the same situation - how to move an organization forward in a tougher market, while sticking to the culture, the values and the vision.

Here are the notes:
Customer views on how to get this going with all that is coming at us and the limited resources.

The discussion started around building a culture of change that needs to take place to move business forward; that we are now in a referral business opportunity even though we are thinking that we have done this long enough - it is not true - new customers do not know us or trust us yet.  We need to constantly be out there.

Mastermind Team Thoughts:
* Have more competition than we did before

* Profit not a question, it's about putting food on the table

* Frustration at quality of work not being recognized, refusal to compromise

* Learned a lot of lessons of efficiency

* Do you spend time talking about vision and values with your staff?

* What do you do to get new clients?

* Referral program with incentives for people to provide referral - difficult in some businesses with lots of corporate regulations/policies

* Generational ....need to look at what they know - how to benefit from other (newer) generations, how to get them involved, what pushes their buttons

* Recognize when ego gets in the way

* Individual people don't exist, the company does...may need to forge new connections and build new relationships

* Team that rises to the challenges and suffers the change are the ones that will be successful

* Collaborate with others in complementary businesses - good way to share messaging and costs

* Huge change in advertising by Project Profiles...send out detailed information to clients on what the company can provide - they may have never considered the company for this type of project and now have you on radar

* Moment of are building a brand and developing the moments with the customer, defining how you will do business in the future, defining your culture

* Tribal knowledge is starting to disappear, how do you capture the expertise that you currently employ so that this legacy does not disappear?

* All we do is for the end of the day - whether customers, employee, investors - they are all people...that is our focus.

Action Step:  Complete a SWOT analysis of your organization.
By itemizing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats  you may find new sources of information or ways to handle what is currently standing in your way.  Once you have completed the exercise, ask someone to review it and see if you have missed anything - a fresh perspective provides challenges, new insights and viewpoints - be ready for honesty and ask more questions so you are clear on the messages they are giving you.

A mastermind team works in this way - to provide new perspectives, challenges, and honesty ----sometimes a little tough love along the way.  If you would like more information on Mastermind Teams, please email .

Leadership Windsor Essex

I have been so fortunate to be selected for the 2011-2012 class for Leadership Windsor/Essex.  The class of 25 amazingly unique individuals is a wonderful mix of private, not-for-profit and public sector leaders that want to learn about our community and how to use their leadership skills to make a difference, continuing to propel our region forward.

This is the 10th year of this great organization that is a part of the Canadian Community Leadership Network.  There are already over 200 alumni.  We just got started on this 10 month journey (so you will hear about it monthly because I cannot help but share!)  and already I have learned so much - about myself, about the community in which I live and work, and about the fellow leaders in my class.

We started off with a retreat - full of activity and discussion.  Lots of trust exercises, questions and relationship building activities.  It impressed me how easy it was to get to know people who have such a common focus.  While each of us may have a different aspect of community service we would like to tackle, we are each focused on the future for our area.

I have said it before - it is about the 'click'.  'Clicks' were happening all was almost electric, the amount of energy that was generated through discussions and brainstorming.  Part of the focus of this class and journey is the ability to take action in the community.  We were presented with 6 good options for Community Action Projects (CAP) - and with a team, you are able to select a project that gets approved by the Executive Director - Becky Parent (awesome leader - by example!)  Once approved, you are off to work on this project along with attending learning days that highlight the opportunities and challenges that we face together and can hopefully create positive change....whether now or after our class.

What an adventure.  As an entrepreneur (and team of 1, sometimes 1 and 1/2), it can be difficult to make time to develop myself.  Leadership Windsor Essex is a commitment to myself and my own development - taking time out to learn and grow in my community with super people.  It is also my time to be part of a larger team - something that I recognizably missed and my eyes were opened to that as the retreat weekend went along.

So looking forward to telling you more about my experiences.  I would love to hear about your community leadership experiences.  Post them here!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Announcing Leadership DNA

Leaders are people.  People have DNA.  So therefore, leaders have DNA. 
All DNA is not the same.

Announcing the Leadership DNA Workshop Series from Solstice Group.
I am happy to announce this 5-part series that will give you a new perspective on your leadership - how you lead, who you lead, why you lead and more.

Making this 1/2 day per month time investment will help you to build highly engaged teams, drive increased revenue and attract clients like never before.

The 5 Workshops are:
  1. the Visionary Leader
  2. High Performance Leader
  3. A Leader's Influence
  4. YOU: the Leader-preneur
  5. Leaders Connect
You have the option to take one or two of the workshop series or take all five.
Currently all workshops are scheduled for in-person events in Windsor, Ontario.  Please let me know if you would like to participate online - I would be happy to share this with you by webinar series.
Click here to see all the details.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Catalyst Session Notes

Today I held my first Catalyst Session at the Downtown Business Accelerator in Windsor Ontario.  A great space with a wonderful group of participants who worked through the following thoughts:
  • What I know about my business
  • What keeps me up at night
  • What I need to learn
  • My immediate business challenge
One participant stepped up and offered his challenges for all to work on in a mastermind session.
Here are the notes  - applicable to many inside and outside the room.

The challenge focused on the forced change that life has thrown his way, so the options exist to pursue the corporate world or take on the challenge of becoming an entrepreneur.

Team Feedback:
  • Understand your reality by the numbers - how long will your present income last?
  • Set a 'parachute' timeline so that you are able to survive, pay the bills and explore the option.
  • Be realistic about wanting the 'pain' of entrepreneurship or choosing to always be a great #2
  • Do you have passion for what you have set out to do?
  • Spend time developing your personal vision - 5yrs, 10yrs +
  • Do a SWOT analysis on yourself.  Do an external scan on that SWOT - ask for open feedback.
  • Develop a clear client profile
  • Develop a clear message about who you are and what you do
  • Be open-minded to the opportunities that are out there that may not be in your current field but can still use the skill set you have already developed
  • Understand your optimum level of momentum?  What is the amount of chaos you want/need in your life and can you get that from work as well as other sources - working out, hobbies, groups etc?
  • Develop an elevator pitch and a short referral phrase so that others can help refer business for you.
  • Be open to flexible opportunities, perhaps even suggest them as you go through this process.
  • Make a decision - commit.
All great feedback!  Thanks for participating and helping someone ignite their future.  If you would like to learn more about becoming a Catalyst, drop me a line at

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Help

The HelpHave you seen this movie yet?  My husband and I went last week. I have not, in a ver long time, sat and watched the movie credits through to the end.  The entire crowd in a very full theatre sat through the credits.  We were all in awe....or waiting for something to happen next and it never did.

Why is 'The Help' a subject in a leadership blog?  Go see the movie.  It is about change - changing times, changing attitudes, changing believes and the difficulties that come with change - getting others to understand the change, being the lone trailblazer, against all odds sticking to your beliefs, your values....holding your values up and holding onto them in the face of crisis and emotion and knowing that you could run and be just like everyone else, or be yourself.

An amazing story.  An eye-opener.  A true miracle to watch.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happiness Delivers

Doing research for a client, I cam across a fabulous resource at LexBlog - .
I ask for information and was promptly answered (same day, in less than 2 hours) and given time for an appointment to get even more details.  The call was awesome, and even better was the alignment I found between my company and LexBlog.
On their Please Advise page - support and service blog, I found a post from July all about Delivering Happiness and the Hsieh story.  If you have been reading my blog here, you know Delivering Happiness is one of my all-time favourite reads - to the point where I even toured the Las Vegas office.
We had a great discussion on the phone about the book and the tour and how companies are built through culture that resonates all the way to the last word.  It was wonderful!  Kevin O'Keefe - you are on my list of favourites - thanks for what you have developed!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Do You Question?

One thing that we do as leaders is question.  We question everything. And that is a point (you knew that was coming didn't you).

I say good to a point because sometimes our questioning can be seen as lacking trust, micro-managing or appearing to take over.  Think about how you question, who you question (same person/group all the time or not) and why you are questioning.  Sometimes providing the explanation to 'why the question' can clear up to issue and get you your answers.  By thinking it through first though, you may eliminate the question completely.  After all, you put people in place to handle the objectives provided - right people in the right place doing the right work, right?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Right Foot, Left Foot

Which foot do you start with when you walk or run?  We tend to favour a specific starting point. And it goes with the saying 'put your best foot forward', well is that the right foot or the left foot.
When we learned how to walk, it goes in order, one foot at a time, right?

What does all of this have to do with leadership?  Feet in leadership? 

Absolutely - people follow leaders  - this is usually an action that takes place with your feet. 
Leaders need to 'walk their talk' - give action to their words.
My favourite is LBWA or CBWA (Leading by Walking Around or Coaching by Walking Around) - getting out into the trenches and being with the team, encouraging, supporting, eliminating roadblocks...and the rest.
So which is it, right foot first? Left foot first?  Best foot first?
And how do you show others how to do this too?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What is Potential?

Pretty Woman is one of my favourite movies.  I know, not very 'leadership-like', but I love a Cinderella/My Fair Lady story complete with knight in shining armour (and not bad looking either)  I like the story because it is about finding your way -- not the way most of us choose, but you know, stuff happens.
There is a line that Kit says that seems to stick with me "Carlos says you have a lot of potential" - it's the word potential that really hits me.
And when we apply this to our lives at work and our leadership, we too, have a lot of potential.  What we do with it is the key.  Polish it up, stretch it to new ground, learn new skills, listen more, enable's all about how we develop ourselves, but more importantly about how we develop those around us.  There is a lot of potential out there.  As leaders, we can harness it and make change happen for the better.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Leadership DNA

So....what are you made of?  What can you say, comprises you, or your leadership?
How do you know that what you have is what it takes to be a leader?

Leadership DNA is a project that I have been working on for a while.  It has been living in the back of my mind - germinating - so to speak.  It has come to light in the form of a series of half- day workshops that will begin in the Fall of 2011 in my local market.  But this is not a commercial, more of an introduction to what has been developing and why.  (If you would really like to read more about it go to my website and look at 'Leadership')

I have discovered (and I don't usually write about myself, but I am today) that leaders come in all shapes and sizes, experiences and inexperiences, and -as if you didn't already know - a variety of interests and ideologies that make them up.  At the same time, they seem to all be focused on one particular outcome - that the service of others - their company, their team, their community, comes before their ego.

I have also discovered that there is a lack of understanding about leadership - what it is, what it can do, how it can influence and connect with others.  All off the leadership traits are personal and reflected outward in a manner that creates a positive and motivating environment. 
It is sharing what you know. 
It is providing value without further intention.
It is being yourself and responsible for your actions, accountable to the world around you.

Look at yourself - what do you think?

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Job Change

There comes a time when things have to change.  Triangles turn into rectangles, squares into circles and the round hole no longer fits your newly formed square-peg-ness.
Not easy the change jobs.  There are usually a lot of factors that come into play.  Having experienced this in my household recently, there were many interesting lessons to learn and look back upon.
  1. This change affects everyone in the family, including growing teens.  They need to understand how this change will affect them (of course) but in our situation, more to understand that this was the right change.
  2. Consideration was given to the question of "are you changing one set of stressors with another?" - lipstick on the same pig syndrome.  Fortunately, not.
  3. Was this a change going to be a challenge? In fact, after thinking about it, it created energy and excitement and anticipation versus the dread of the current situation.
  4. Finally, could anything be done to rescue the old situation?  Answer - NO.
Timing, patience, and accepting the flattery from being head-hunted all create many questions for which the answers are only within.  Discussing and working through pro's and con's really helps to make this decision clear and long-lasting.  At the same time, the openness showed the family how important they are in the process as well as their input to help ensure that everyone was on the same page.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Perfect Profile

So how do you make sure that you are the person in the middle with all the connections?
If you are not on LinkedIn or a struggling to figure it out, I am hosting a Virtual Learning Day on July 26th.  From the comfort of your home or office, you can learn to leverage LinkedIn for your business.

I love using LinkedIn.  It has helped me connect with prospects and clients both locally and around the globe.  I have found like-minded people where I can share ideas and learn - for business and topics of interest.  I have also found friends and past colleagues and it is a great way to stay in touch - on a professional level as well as a personal level - and to pass along referrals whenever I can.

A virtual day is an awesome tool that I learned from my friend Michele Scism at .  Together, we will work through the tabs on LinkedIn and you will actually have time during the call to implement the strategies and tips that I will show you LIVE from my screen and my profile.

Read more about the LinkedIn Virtual Day here:  Click Please

You will be happy you did! Plus, there are a couple of awesome bonuses that you won't want to miss.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mid-Year Break

I have been working this month to develop new programs for the rest of the year.  I am happy to take this time to clear my thoughts and work on all the ideas that I have been keeping track of since the early Spring.

It's a process.  Time management is required.  Also, discipline to sit and work through the lists of ideas and see which ones have potential, which ones can be added together, and which ones still need to lay still and dormant for a while until I can wrap my head around what I was really thinking at the time.

Not only that - this is also the perfect time for me (and my business) to have a look at what has worked so far, how I am moving along on my goals - both personal and for my business - and see where I need to take diffferent action to reach them.

I love this time of year!  I am feeling more refreshed and energized by the day. What do you do to refresh and re-energize mid-year?  Do you do anything at all or is it strictly and 'keep moving' attitude?
(Notice, I did not say 'keep moving forward' attitude? That's because sometimes we are moving but there is no direction or we need a reality check into how we are moving.)

So what's your tip?  Share it here!

Monday, July 11, 2011

How to Build Towards Success

What do you do to build your success?
Whether it's arching that milestone of running 10 k in less than an hour, or signing that new client, what are the mental exercises you do to get you there?

Let's share.

Here are a few of mine...

A...research an understand what I am up against...what the challenge really is
B...think about how I will feel when I get to the result I want
C...understand or outline for myself the worst thing that could happen if I don't get there

All 3 of these help me find clarity and drive my purpose in a positive way. Now you tell me what works for you.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Ideal Client

Can you describe your ideal client? Developing my business, I have learned to narrow this down so that I am not tracking after prospects that really don't fit my niche....for reasons of expectations, money or even personality. I like to click with my clients. I like to feel the energy and excitement for eir business as we talk and discuss next steps. Frankly, it leaves me energized and I love that....that is the click.

My ideal client has been in business, in either a leadership capacity or starting their own business. I work with entrepreneurs and executives. My clients love their work, their business, their team and their family. They are looking to create an awesome business that has longevity for their people, their family and then, at the end of the day, themselves!

My clients are about their people and moving forward. My clients are full of energy and have a million ideas all at once. My clients have heart....huge heart. It is what drives care, to learn, to grow and to connect.

My clients like to take risks, have goals, are self-aware and want to grow beyond their current place -in mind,  in body and in business.  They want to move from 'good' to 'great' - with their teams, their business and of course with their bank account.

My clients are also solo-preneurs - and make their team consist of the network of relationships they build with others - vendors, suppliers, clients, advisors and more.  This is where they focus energy for growth, guidance and true learning.

Does this sound like you? Perhaps you are my ideal client.
Think you are? Let's talk.
Call me at 519-735-6820 or email me at

Thursday, June 30, 2011

5 Great Ideas for Your Business

5 Great Ideas for Your Business

A super post from Zeke! He always has great tips and ideas.
I especially like his note on 'the harder the decision, the quicker you have to make it'.
Happy reading.

FuEL Awards

I received this letter via LinkedIn this morning from Ian Portsmouth (Editor & Associate Publisher at PROFIT: Your Guide to Business Success) - what an awesome idea.  Especially after attending the Young Entrepreneurs event at the Art Gallery in Windsor earlier this month, there is so much to be said about encouraging the next generations to take see entrepreneurship as a primary career choice that will take them to global markets, global thinking  and global + local leadership.

As leaders, one of our main roles it to develop the future.  It starts here.

Please nominate or vote for a Canadian Young Entrepreneur.

Date: 6/29/2011

Subject: Please help me find a young entrepreneur (or three)

As you know, I'm a huge supporter of Canadian entrepreneurship. I believe it's the key to bolstering Canada's flagging economic prospects in the face of increasingly intense global competition.

Young entrepreneurs are the key to the key. We need to educate and inspire more of them. We need them to be more innovative. We need them to think global.

So I ask for your help with the FuEL Awards, a new program I've launched at PROFIT in celebration of young entrepreneurs. We're going to identify, profile and reward the top 20 young entrepreneurs in Canada, thus inspiring other young Canadians to make entrepreneurship a primary career choice.

The application deadline is July 15, so please help asap in one of the following EASY ways:

>>nominate a deserving young entrepreneur at or encourage someone to apply directly (nomination is not a prerequisite for application)

>>Post a note encouraging applications on Twitter (#fuelawards), Facebook, your blog or website

>>Drop by and cast a vote for your favourite candidates (public votes count for 20% of an applicant's final score)

>>APPLY yourself if you are under 30!

If you have any questions or would like a copy of the FuEL Supporters' Handbook, then please drop me a line.

Thanks so much for your help!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Best Place to Work

There are surveys and studies for the 'best place to work', but how do you know everyday that your place is e best place to work? you have happy employees -like truly happy, genuinely engaging with others, whether clients or colleagues and ready to help for the love of the work and the company? you have a productive workplace where work actually gets done, on time or in advance, exceeding your customer's expectations

...does your team take pride in the fact they work for you or do they hide it? Do they proudly wear the company t-shirt or logo...or do they make sure to put it on after they get to work?

These are only three indicators, there are many more. Check out Happy Staff Happy Company... they provide cool survey....for free that can help you figure some of this out and more.

Don't forget people leave leaders, not companies....when they where the colours, they are wearing the brand, they are representing YOU.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Leadership and Culture

I work with numerous leaders. One common topic in the first six months of this year has been culture. Developing one, enhancing one, changing one....culture becomes top of mind when companies are in start-up, some cultures simply evolve. Some are deliberately developed and some are deliberately changed based on the needs of the business and it's development. (If you want to read a great culture story, check out Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh from!)

The leaders that focus on culture can see that culture is the direct outcome or output of their mission and values (those of the company too). It is how activity takes place, how relationships start and a built, how all decisions are measured....."does it match our culture?"

So why is it that leaders in emerging companies are only just now recognizing that they actually hold the keys to culture or perhaps better said, the tools to sculpt the culture?  To me this is leadership 101. Build the business with the mission and values that are displayed in the culture.

Organizations shifting priorities or specialities or niches need to take the culture and help it adapt to the new priority. Shifting a culture is about changing the processes and interactions of people. Not easy, but can be done. It takes a measured plan, key outcomes that can be measured and of course a lot of leading by example.
How has your organization evolved over the last few years?
What culture shifts have occurred or are you spotting that need to take place?
As the leader, what are you waiting for?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mentor VS Coach

Here is another question I get asked..."what is the difference between a mentor and a coach"?  And that question leads to this one:  "why do you have one of each"?

To me, a mentor is specifically focused on the work or job at hand and has experiences that you may want or will be going through soon.  They point out opportunities for development, provide feedback about perceived strengths, gives organizational information - structure, culture, politics etc., advises on how to deal with roadblocks - perceived or otherwise, points out development opportunities.  This is a more directive conversation from a role model, who sees the individual in action.

Working with a coach is a collaborative relationship.  While the subject matter may overlap with that of a mentor, with a coach, the discussion is to coach the individual to find their own next steps and work through their own actions as they relate to their goals. The coach most likely will never see the individual in action - at work or otherwise.

Now, why do I have both?  Looking at my mentor, who has been a fabulous woman in business for over 15 years, I want to operate a business that is as successful as hers. (See it here - Blazing - THE Agency).  She is open, honest and we relate well to each other.  She has gone through the transitions I am experiencing and her sharing and feedback helped me to look at my business and make changes in anticipation of what could come next.  While we see each other less often now than when I started my business, I know that we have developed a solid relationship and that she will always be there for me.

I have coaches that help me with moving my business forward.  One for social media - because I need to learn too...and I check in with them periodically now.  One for marketing copy - this coach is a coach in development, so we share a great deal and her talent at selecting the right words is incredible!  And I need these people in my life - the solo-preneur life can be lonely if you don't reach out to others who have what you need.  The capacity for sharing is wonderful. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Why Do I Have a Coach?

Funny, I was asked that today. In fact I have more than one. I have one for my business, and one for marketing + I have a mentor. It helps me develop my skills in these areas. These coaches still ask questions and invite me to shift my thinking and my ways to move my business forward....being an entrepreneur and a coach, I need help with these perspectives too. And it works.

It is funny when clients wonder why I have a coach. I may not be an expert in everything, except I am an expert in creating the shift for you with questions, challenges, options and new perspectives. I am also really good ( I am told) at putting your challenges and goals into succinct phrases that encapsulate your thoughts. It's how I work.

So the answer is...just like a coach makes an athlete better through specific and measured focus, so do I need this specific measured focus and it is what I will do for you and your business.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Exit Interview

There are two schools of thought on the exit interview.

Do them or not (like everything else!)

Conducting exit interviews gives the company insight as to potential opportunities to change or improve. This happens when the interview questions focus on big picture.  This works best when the interviewer is objective and perhaps from a third party as opposed to your boss or the HR Manager.

Letting an exit interview get out of hand and into a character assassination is certainly not the way to get your message across.  Use this time, if asked about specific feedback on a person, to provide exact examples with potential solutions or changes that can be made.  This will help clarify the situation that caused issues and also provide a great learning opportunity. (Is this difficult?  Sure, sometimes it is....but take the high road- you never know when paths may cross again.  And it just feels better!!)

The philosophy of not doing exit interviews is really all about not wanting to hear 'the whining'. If you work for this company, and want to say your part, then do so in your resignation explanation. Feedback is always a good tool, whether others want to listen at the moment or not. 

Leaving an organization (or more than likely,  the leader of your team) can be emotional or free-ing. All depending on the circumstances you have had to work in for the last while and what your next steps will be.

Having your say is important to leaving on good terms and providing closure to the experience. There is always the potential, because we cannot tell the future, that you may work with them again, whether it's the leader or the interviewer. Your thoughts and experiences are important  - make sure you share them.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Keep Talent

Of all the assets a company can have, it’s talent is the most needed and easily distracted away. 
Strong words, sure, but if your business relies on the expertise of the people within, you will need to do a great  job of keeping that talent on board.  There are a number of triggers that can keep your talent with you.  You will need to assess and analyze what your talent is looking for in a long-term relationship with you.  This can be predicated by the generational make up of your team too.  The best way to do determine how to keep your talent is to ask them. 
There have been a great number of books, articles and blogs written on keeping talent by the generation.  Have a look at “Bridging the Generation Gap” by Linda Gravett & Robin Throckmorton – there is a lot to learn, in an easy read.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Get Your Walking Shoes On

Leaders are always in motion. Whether physically or in their minds, movement is happening. As a leader, you need to get your walking shoes on and visit everyone who is on your team – and daily. Get to know them. Get to know what they like, what makes them happy. Find out what makes them crazy. Ask them about their ideas on how to improve the business. Discuss what customers are saying to them that can make the business better.

With walking shoes, a leader can really make a difference in the morale of their team, the productivity of the organization and even the creativity of their ideas. With walking shoes, the presence of the leader is know and felt – relationships and trust can grow in the path of those shoes.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Gains vs. Losses

So which one is it and how do you react when it happens? Year-end for businesses can happen any time of the year. How do you keep your team in the loop about progress towards goals – sales, profits, bonus thresholds? It is important to ensure that everyone knows where they stand in relation to the organization’s goals so that there are no surprises.

Here are a few tips to avoid surprises:

a. If you have a convoluted formula for figuring out the bonus thresholds, make sure new hires are well-versed (or at least taught) the calculation.

b. Host quarterly, if not monthly, meetings to review the numbers with all stakeholders, and provide the benchmarks so that everyone can see what needs to be made up or if they are ahead.

c. Keep projections realistic.

It’s the surprise that hurts. To avoid losses in the people column, take time with the information that triggers on the dollars & cents of the job.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Business Owners: Keep Cash in Your Jeans

Every once and a while you connect with someone that really hits the heart of what you do.  My new friend Shannon Rickwood loves to provide seminars that will educate her clients and potential future clients.  Shannon is energetic and finds her network open to sharing their knowledge and expertise to add value to the relationships she builds.

See - you don't have to do everything yourself. Connect with Shannon Rickwood on LinkedIn by clicking here.  Or call her at 519-946-1016 to find out more about her series.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Soft Side of Leadership

Leaders develop skills, some are innate and need to be polished. There are soft skills and hard skills. Soft are interior and show outwardly through the heart and soul of the leader. Hard skills are tactical and executionary ( don't worry, I'll write on this too!)

Review this list and put a check mark next to each soft leadership skill that applies to you.

Decision making
Communication skills
Self motivation
Influencing others
Relationship builder

  • Go back through the list and put an arrow pointing up next to the items which you need to develop in the next 6 months.P
  • Put a dot next to the items that are categorized in your mind as your strengths.
  • Take the arrow items and write them out in the boxes below. Develop actions that can help you over the next 6 months, move in a new direction with these skills. Here are a few examples:
1- creativity....use the brainstorming app for iPod or iPad and brainstorm on a timer instead of jumping to the first answer in your head. Use at least 4 times in the next month to solve problems.

2- networking....attend 3 networking events in the next six months with the goal of meeting 3 new people by simply asking them about themselves....what do they do, why did they chose to attend this networking event?

  • Look at the dotted items. Why do you consider these your strengths? Write down your answer next to each one.
  • If you are bold, or confident, ask others ( at least 3 people) if they consider these same items your strengths and why. You'll be amazed at the feedback. Also, if you are really feeling gutsy....ask if they have any other suggestions.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Be an Effective Solo Business Leader

Business owners who fly solo need to understand their level of effectiveness. Each business would measure this differently so here is a quick list to determine two things-effective true or false and how effective:

1. Reflect upon experiences to become more discerning in selecting clients, projects and goals.

2. Understand what to let go of and what to pursue based on the goals of the business.

3. Create a like to do/don't like to do list and compare it against how each item affects attitude, motivation, ability to complete work, reach goals

4. Take time to reflect and consider what is working and why. Is there a pattern that links the 'working' together?

5. When I tackle the items that are in the pending file, what is the outcome in attitude and and performance?

6. Determine what projects build confidence.

7. Determine if ' the main thing is the main thing'.

8. Understand if where time is invested is paying back in revenue or leads.

Looking at every item on the list is really focusing on what is a nice to do versus a need to do. When nice to do produces cash, the need to do becomes easier. At the beginning, many entrepreneurs focus on the nice to do instead of the need to do to be effective and then move toward operating a nice to do business all the time.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Would You Work for You?

Entrepreneurs can get so focused on working on business projects that they forget to get out and about to acquire new business or investigate emerging markets, work on developing new projects. The 'need to' thoughts start to pop up.

" I need to market like I used to", "I need to do my financials regularly", " I need to know where my business is growing", and the biggest one of all " I need to understand if I still want to do this".

Take a moment to turn the 'need to' thoughts into specific opportunities as if the business had an army of employees. If those same questions were asked by the leadership of the company what would happen? The one question that would come back is 'why aren't you doing that?'. Would you work for a leader who asked these questions?

To be considered even further is the ' I still want to do this' thought. A leader needs to be fully vested or have the courage to completely change direction, if that is truly what it takes. An employee considers the following when working for a happy they are, the income they make, if they are passionate about the business, if there is a challenge within the business? Take the same measurements as an entrepreneur to determine if the ' still want to do this' opportunity still exists.

Determining if you still want to work for you is the key to success for your business.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Grow Rich #11

Change is constant.  See nature for reference.
Hill had a sense of humour and his wordplay was great.  This last and final quote really made everything come to a single space in my mind.  The opportunities the world gives me are because I attract them through the love and respect I have for myself and those around me.  What I do with those opportunities is up to me and my open mind, giving me greater challenges and ways to use my strengths, be disciplined and face the changes that come my way.

Enjoy the book - you will look at everything differently when you are done.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Grow Rich #10

Your mind can reach beyond itself.
It is stregthened by peace and harmony.

Eventually all the pages in  Grow Rich! connect and images start to form.  I see a large tree with many branches all sprouting from the same trunk - similar to the photo above.  Hill makes it very obvious that all the lines in the mind connect - removing toxins (or toxic things/people) from our lives gives us peace and harmony, leading to the ability for our mind to stretch and grow, further than we ever imagined.
This peace and harmony is also a way for minds to connect and form a Mastermind, creating an environment for growth and development, collaboration and innovation that could never have existed with a single mind.

Free Teleseminar - click to sign up!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Grow Rich #9

To succeed in your life, be yourself.

Discipline is necessary.  Self-control gives you strength.

Throw out the clutter in your life.  Keep it clean and toxin-free.

Not much else to say, is there?