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.