Friday, December 28, 2012

It's a Wrap

Okay Leaders - the countdown is on.  It's Friday and the year 2012 is quickly wrapping up.
Here are a few things to do today to ensure that you wrap up those loose ends:

  • wrap up who you may have missed along the way that needs more development
  • wrap up who needs to move to new projects, new teams, new adventures
  • wrap up the clients that need to have all the details done by the end of this year - you have 3 more days
  • wrap up your goal list - what did you accomplish this year, how does it make you feel, what's left - will you move it to 213
  • wrap up your plans - you should have a neat little bow on your plans for next year - you should come in on January 2nd ready to hit the ground running
  • wrap up those thank you's - anyone you may have missed in the last week....time off, missed shifts, skipped emails and just general busy-ness could have caused this - simply go back and fix it
Helping your team see your leadership this past year has been critical to your success & theirs - be on top of it and finish strong!

That's a wrap!  Including my new website - check out - would love your feedback!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

May the joy & blessings of Christmas be yours,
today & throughout the year.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Reflection Time

This is the time of year that many people spend tying up loose ends, finishing projects, planning for the next year.

It is also time for reflection -
take some time to think about a few things.....

  • What will you do about the things you did not like about the last year?  What changes will you make?
  • What did you LOVE about last year?  How can you duplicate that in years to come?
  • What opportunities did you seize?  Are you ready to seize the ones that may come your way next year?
  • Who came into your life?  Who left?
  • What is the one thing you will truly treasure - that you will hold in your heart and allow it to guide you forward next year?
Sounds mushy, I will thank me later if you simply read these questions over each day until January 1st.  I have been thinking about all of this - and grateful that I can.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Birthdays & Milestones

Tomorrow my husband turns 50.
This got me thinking about birthdays & milestones.
What do we celebrate and how do we celebrate the milestones in our lives?
At home? or at work?

As leaders (and he exemplifies this to the T), knowing the milestones that mark the path to success for each person on the team can lead to mini or maxi celebrations that provide encouragement, develop engagement and help facilitate change in habit and growth in culture.

What do you take time to celebrate?
Before you answer that question -  what are the milestones that make a difference to you, your team and your organization - that should be celebrated?
Not only that - who have you told about those milestones and what will the celebration be?

It can be as simple as donut-day for 30 accident-free days to as large as a cruise for hitting the Million Dollar Club - fact is, good leaders know that milestones are important - and sticking to them builds credibility and trust.

2013 is just around the corner. Take some time today to write out 1 milestone for each quarter that will help you highlight your road to a successful year.

Friday, December 14, 2012

It`s Not Yet New Year`s Eve But....

I love to watch movies.....and watch them over & over again.  Each time I do, I usually get struck by a line I missed last time or a phrase or action.  All very interesting how the universe conspires to allow you to hear & see (and feel) things when you need them.

In the movie New Year`s Eve there is a short speech by Claire Morgan - she is the Vice President of the New Year`s Eve Ball Drop Committee - the ball is stuck on it`s way up due to an electrical issue - she has called in the Great Kominski to fix it!  In the meantime, the crowd is getting restless so she gives them an update and a few words from the heart.  To me, this is leadership - stepping up, at all costs to say words from the heart.

Claire Morgan: As you all can see the ball has stopped half way to its porch. 
It's suspended there to remind us before we pop the champagne and celebrate the New Year, to stop and reflect on the year that has gone by. 
To remember both our triumphs and our missteps, our promises made and broken. 
The times we opened ourselves up to great adventures or close ourself down for fear of getting hurt. 
Cause that's what New Year's is all about, getting another chance. T
he chance to forgive, to do better, to do more, to give more, to love more. 
And stop worrying about what if and start embracing what will be. 
So when that ball drops at midnight, and it will drop, let's remember to be nice to each other, kind to each other. 
And not just tonight, but all year long. 
Thank you.

So my wish for you today as we head into the busiest last few weeks of the year is to take that time out to remember each other, think about what may be on one another`s plate that we may not see - be kind.  Today & always.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Connect NOW

What are you waiting for? The time to connect is when you...
See someone
Meet someone - put their contact info in your phone
Walk past someone - starts a connection, and at least makes their day
When you overhear a I just did. Two very passionate individuals in the local Starbucks - I simply reached out and let them know I love their spirit and invited the Icarus Session I will be hosting on January 2, a lot of Seth Godin Tribe members.

So Connect. And do it immediately.
Do not put off what you know could make a difference for someone. After all, getting to know you is could be their hope, their solution, or just the challenge you need.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Future Leaders

Transitions are happening in organizations around the globe.  As time marches on, people age and grow...and it becomes time to 'pass the torch' of leadership.  How do you prepare for this eventuality?
This will become fact in your business - you will either close your company, sell your company or pass it along in succession to others.

Leaders have to face this fact.

Stop right now and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. who am I grooming to be future leader?
  2. do I have the capability within the organization or am I going to have to look outside?
  3. how am I developing this future leader?  is there an actual plan in place ON PAPER?
  4. in which activities are they participating to stretch them and tap into their leadership skills?
  5. am I focused on only their developmental needs or are those opportunities married to the future of the organization (trends, obstacles, forecasts)?
As the leader, part of your role is to envision the future and help the team/organization see it with you.  Take some time today to tap into this area of visualization - what do you see & how can you implement it?

Monday, December 3, 2012

People Planning?

With the New Year right around the corner, what is your plan for your people?  Did you ever think to do 'people planning'?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the pulse of the company and it's culture?
  2. How will you strengthen the culture in the New Year?
  3. How will you attract new talent?
  4. How will you retain the great talent you already have on board?
  5. Who in your organization will you groom for the future?
These questions form the basis of your People Planning.  Now take the time to flush out some answers - this is time consuming and well worth the effort.  After all, does your organization live and breathe because of the people within it?

Let us all know how you are doing with this exercise.....happy to help brainstorm solutions with  you!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Perspective Part 2

In the last blog post, I let you know that there were 2 people who spoke to me about perspective, both from my breakfast group.  Well, here comes the story - every other week we chose words (pre-made flashcards we created!) by which to set goals for the coming week.  Because my word was 'goal setting', the moderator for the day - Alisson - decided that I needed a better word.  She gave me 'perspective'.

After each person around the table set their goals with their word for the week, Alisson (guest blogger)  came back to me - I discussed the perspective that had changed in my branding and new website design, she challenged me to take a look at my marketing plan for 2013 with a new perspective - underlining the 'why' for each activity or portion of the strategy and determining if this fit into a linear flow for product/service offering - was I going to be able to trade my clients through the service matrix I created.

It was amazing - that fresh look with a new underpinning or perspective helped me to see what needed work, what needed to be eliminated and what needed to be added.

See, even coaches need coaching!  How about you/  Review your next strategy in development with the perspective of 'why'.

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's about Perspective

Coming soon is my new brand and my new website.
There is a story of perspective here.
See - even in the image above - we know that the guy's hand is not as big as the Eiffel Tower, but it is our perspective because of the way the image is composed - we need to take a second look.

To tell my story of perspective, it is really 2 -fold.  Both, funny enough, come from great people in my breakfast group. (I will tell one story today and the other one later on).  First is Mark from Digital Media - we met last year at a Rotary Club meeting and quickly became fast friends.  About 6 months ago, he made a statement that made a lightbulb go off in my head - that people know me as the brand and not my company - it was so true.  I tested this out by asking some key people about my company - they knew me instead.  Interesting.

Thinking this through, and knowing that I was ready to invest in a professional website, I decided it was time to take the plunge.  When we had our initial meetings in his office with his creative director, the question "am I married to the name or current logo' the first answer out of my mouth was NO - that surprised me.  After discussing what I do and how I do it, I left feeling like I had been interviewed for a job...knowing that they needed this to do their jobs.

I went back after a few weeks and found a cool logo...and the word PERSPECTIVE on the first ad we were going to run.  Just a one degree turn of your head can change your perspective - and it was so true.  By evaluating, asking questions, listening and seeing me in action, Mark developed a great new logo and helped me to change my perspective about my company, my work and my future - elevating me to new thoughts, opening new doors and examining my processes and projects more closely.

Taking this time and working with some else has been invaluable.  When will you take this time?

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Fuzzy World

It's Friday and I am back on the blog about 2013.  It is getting here faster than you think.
It is really time to focus.
The world of business and well, just the world itself can be fuzzy.
Time to take a moment for yourself and focus.
Do this:

  1. close the door
  2. put the phone onto voicemail
  3. turn off the cell/smart/iPhone
  4. take out a piece of paper and a pencil (or a pen)
  5. now focus - write down the first 3 things you would like to happen  in 2013
  6. next write down the first 3 things you would like to accomplish in 2013
See, with just 5 minutes of focus you have started to create a plan for the New Yea.
Now you job is to take 5 minutes every day for the next week and create the action steps that need to happen for you to get those 3 things done.

Ready, set, Go!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sharing is Fun! Seriously, it is.

How much do you share?  and what specifically do you share?
Do you know that what you share comes back to you?  Not necessarily in the form it went out, but definitely and over time, I swear it does.

Great leaders share.  They share their knowledge, their enthusiasm, their passion, their focus, their minds and hearts.  They do this selflessly - not because they know it will come back, but because they know it will help the other person move forward.  That is true sharing.

Think about the last thing you truly shared.  What really motivated you to do that?  Is is simply the way you do business, the person you are?

Friday, November 16, 2012

So What's Next?

 What's next, huh?  Well, 2013 just keeps creeping is what I am working on in the 'What's Next?' category:

  • new branding
  • a vacation!
  • new website
  • promotional offering with website launch
  • new programs - Goal Guru 1 & 2 (more on this to come, and it is a must do for your business, after all I am the guru of goals!)
  • sticking to my wellness plan
  • new database management system in place
  • new apps in development for one of my other companies
  • focused on streamlining process (and reducing stress) around implementing Leadercast 2013
  • new clients in line for 2013
  • redeveloping a few Mastermind Teams
  • planning to implement another team for 2013
  • a new hire on board this year!
  • incorporated the business (yippee!)
  • moving forward on my health goals
...and I am sure there is more.

So what's next for you?  Are you ready for 2013?  Have you begun to think about it?
Let me help you get this going - a simple call or email is all it takes - or 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pruning Your Business

For that last 4 or 5 posts I have blogged about planning, processes, project and people.  I was hoping to open your eyes to the fact that sometimes we need to look at our businesses differently.  We sometimes need to see that endings are necessary, and pruning our business to grow can be a good thing.

If you have time, check out Dr. Henry Cloud's book Necessary Endings (he will also be a speaker at Leadercast 2013).  He goes into really awesome examples and real life issues of what can happen if we sit and wait, not realizing that endings are sometimes better for everyone and everything involved.

Take it another way - you are better off to create your own endings, than have them created for you.  This needs to become a part of your business process.

Please let me know how I can help you with that.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Processing the Plan

Sometimes we need to process the plan....sometimes the process needs planning.  No matter what, there are always a number of factors involved in every process.

As we get closer to the end another year, we need to take time to evaluate our processes:

  • what is working
  • what is not working
  • what is producing results we expected
  • what are the unexpected results
  • what is becoming a habit that is no longer productive
  • what is missing that could make us more productive or efficient
  • what can be streamlined
  • what can be outsource
All of this evaluation is critical. As leaders we need to realize that the process is usually made up with at least one relationship to a person.  Whether the person developed the process or is involved in it, there is an emotional attachment somewhere that needs to be reviewed as well to understand how to move the process forward.  Engaging this person or these people in the conversation can help drive better future results.

There comes a time when processes need to change or disappear altogether.  Key to making sure this is successful is ensuring that anyone who is involved understands 2 things:
  1. why
  2. impact on them - positive changes.
So, when will you evaluate the processes in your organization? It could be a hefty job, so start with one only.  Go to it....the New Year is only 56 days away!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Finish What You Started Not Really True

Companies always have projects on the go.  Aside from the day to day operation of running the business, these projects serve to do a few different things:

  1. look at viability for options in products or services
  2. understand expansion or market trends
  3. determine if there is a need for a person or location
There could be numerous other reasons for projects to exist as well.  
The one thing we need to make sure as leaders, is that we are not inventing projects for busy work.
We need to ensure that projects have measures of success along the way. These milestones will tell us if the project itself is still a viable expense of money and people resources.  Do not be afraid to stop a project if it is no  longer what the company needs to move forward.

In most cases I would say 'finish what you start', in terms of projects that go nowhere, that is not really true any longer.  It would be much better in the long run to cut your losses, redirect the resources and move quickly onto something new that could produce cash, profit and/or engagement better and faster.

Friday, November 2, 2012

People Planning

I would guess you are sensing a theme - planning.

Time is required to plan for your people needs. There is a lot to consider.
If you are just getting started in business - do you even need 'people'?

If you have 'people' - how productive are they?  Are they in the right job?  Do they do what the clients need or what they want?  Do you know your people - what makes them tick?  where they want to go next?  are the ready to grow with you or are you planning to develop them so they can?

See lots of questions.  And here are a few more - what if they are not performing or have outgrown the business?  People have a life-span with organizations - is it time to move some people out the door? 

Key to leading people is knowing them - all about them - and being truthful about their role in the company.
Planning for the success of your team should take as much if not more time than the rest of your business planning - after all that is who keeps the motor running!

For You Solo-preneurs out there:  you need to spend time developing yourself too - staying ahead of trends, learning to balance, finding new opportunities to innovate and collaborate - don't sell yourself short because you are flying solo.  Plan for your own development too.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Have you heard that 'proper planning prevents poor performance'?

It is TRUE!

Taking time to redevelop my website and polish up my branding, planning has been key to getting everything done, done well and on time.  It is still all in the works....and I know the plan will get me there with the team of awesome people that are on board to help me.

Planning, and goal setting are my critical key strengths.  Leveraging this skill, I have decided to launch a new segment of workshops/work sessions - Goal Guru.  Here is the sneak preview:

  • Goal Guru 1:  the 5-R Formula to Refuel Your Business - this is a 1/2 day session that will help you review your past business year so that you can learn what worked, what didn't work and how to repeated those processes for great results in the future.
  • Goal Guru 2: the 5-R Formula to Rev Up Your Business - this 1/2 day follow up session will give you the plan for your next 12 months in business...revved up and ready to roll!

More details will follow soon - even in podcast format (but a much shorter timeframe!) - if you want to learn more send me a quick email at - and we can talk about making you a Goal Guru!

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Power of Habit

This is a MUST READ book - one that is hard-to-put-down lifechanging!

Think about all the habits we have - good ones, not-so-good-ones, and the ones we wish we could develop.  We often wonder why others can do what we cannot. Instead of focusing on them, turn the focus to yourself and learn how to reprogram that wonderful brain and build it for yourself.

The Power of Habit takes the fear out of learning about how to help yourself and shows you how habits link individuals, companies and communities in amazing ways.

I truly loved this book - have made it required reading in our household.
Once you read it, tell us what you think!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What Does It Take to Reach the Peak?

This is my friend Alisson Dube - on her trek to climb the highest mountain in Africa - here is her lesson from the climb.  Alisson is one of the most insightful people I have ever met.  Her lessons and words always hit the mark.

 I know right?  Climbing a mountain as a metaphor for life or business... It's been done before.  Well, give me a shot because I think my experience was a little bit different :)

I was part of a group of 12 people attempting to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, the 4th highest mountain in the world.  We had spent a year preparing: training, fundraising for the local hospital, buying the right gear, getting all the travel medical stuff in order and dreaming about it.  It was kind of like trying to open my business.  A lot of details riding on a dream.  This thing that you invest so much of yourself in: your money, your expertise, your time away from your family - all for the idea of what it's going to become!

So after a long 8 hours of walking/hiking on Day 3 I was sitting at camp at 4000m with a journal on my lap and Africa spread out in front of me.  And, not for the first time in the year, I wondered if we were going to make it.  Don't get me wrong, the dream was still there.  Snow-capped and solid behind the drifting clouds, the peak was there, getting closer every day but still an intimidating giant.  I had a tiny sense of what it would be like to be like to make it all the way.  It would be undeniable and a part of my story forever!

But this was a tough project.  It wasn't exciting.  It was tedious.  At the top of every rise there was another one.  And there wasn't much of a view.  Rocks, clouds, and more often than not, the person's heels in front of me.  We ate a lot of rice.  After a couple of hours there weren't many stories left to share, nor the breath to tell them.  And there were blisters, headaches, dizzy spells and sore muscles.

You get the parallels right?  To paperwork and hiccups, roadblocks and red tape.  Inevitably, at some point, we all wonder if the dream, the peak is worth it.  We don't need this.  We've come this far and that's a lot more than most people even attempt!  We want our steak and potatoes, our pillow top mattress, our career with benefits back.

So how did I finish the journey?  No differently than I had started it.  Say it with me now, "one step at a time!"  One tedious right foot in front of the next boring left foot.  Eating even though I wasn't hungry, planning out your yearly marketing plan even though you would rather be done working for the day.  Helping a teammate pack their tent up because they were feeling the altitude worse than me, taking the time to train a new employee even though your work is piling up.  Every meter, every meeting - they all matter.

5895m - Uhuru Peak at sunrise after climbing all night long.  The air is thin and cold at the top of Africa.  But there we were, a year in the making, standing at the summit.  Honestly?  I was cold.  And tired.  And knew that in a few minutes I was going to have to walk back down again.  One step at a time.

So what's the lesson?  Would I do it again?  No.  Would I tell my friends to try it?  No, because if they didn't have the desire on their own nothing I could say would give it to them.  But it's been a couple weeks now and I've been telling my story to a lot of friends and family.  I've noticed something.  Every time I tell the story my eyes are a little brighter, my trials and tribulations are just a little lighter, maybe even funny.  And my team?  We're a family now.  For the rest of our lives, we did this incredible thing together.  Every time I eat rice I'll remember wondering if it was really chicken in the stew.  Every time I can't fall asleep I'll be thankful that at least I'm not wearing a toque, and parka and gloves.  And every time I'm faced with a tedious, boring chore?  I'm not pretending it was that profound a change.  I'm not suddenly a disciplined machine.  But the dream?  The peak?  Your legacy?  There's a story there that's worth telling one day.  All you have to do is keep walking forward and get there :)

Thanks Alisson for the great lesson - it's always in the story!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Change in the Wind

We are moving towards the end of 2012, plans for 2013 are complete or at least really underway...there is the presidential election in the United States and more going on around the world.  Changes are always coming our way.  What do you do to prepare for change?  Or do you prepare for change at all?
Here are a few things to consider when working on creating change in your organization:

  1. timing - when is the right time (without procrastinating - I am thinking more from a fiscally responsible perspective)
  2. who is involved - directly affected by the change, team alignment, people elimination or respositioning
  3. how will customers react - or will they notice the change at all
  4. what will the organization look like after the change - compare org charts or product/service matrices
  5. what will the communication plan look like  -  and who owns it
There are a million more things to think about, but if you can start here, you are covering the bases to ensure that you are getting a 'global' view on the change.  

If you are not sure if this is the path for you, try this:
  • Ask your executive team to plan out the first three steps they would each take to get from where you are now to where you would like to be.  They must do this individually in the next 3 minutes - it's all about gut reaction - see what comes out and you will find a pretty common starting space if you are really aligned.  You may even tap into some creative/innovative ideas that can help you move the change along.  At the very least you will get a great dialogue on the subject.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Strategist

Penelope Trunk writes a great article in her blog about Strategists:
"Strategy requires thinking conceptually and creating something from nothing. So, for the most part, if you need to see something in order to do strategy then you are not doing strategy, you’re doing editing. 
Strategists usually favor thinking about the future instead of the present; strategists I admire are bored by what is and focus on what could be.
Also, strategy means constantly making decisions based on incomplete information. It means taking intellectual leaps of faith that could derail many departments in an organization, and doing that with confidence."
As a leader of my own business, my focus has moved towards evolution.  I took time during the last 10 months to simplify what I do.  In planning for the next 12 - 18 months, I realized I needed to have a better look at the focus I put on my work and where my true strengths + what I really love to do + I am good at it really lie.  When I look at Penelope's information above, I find my place....that + coaching.  
So, that being said, you will see a shift (soon) on the website and in my branding that focuses my direction and my business on strategy + coaching.  That means:
Plans + Coaching to implement
Goals + Coaching to reach those goals
Ideas + Coaching to put them into action
Perspectives + Coaching to see all sides
Clarity + Coaching to overcome the obstacles that enable risk-taking
I am really excited about this move forward and can't wait for your feedback. 
Have you taken time to look back and plan forward yet?  If not, the year is quickly coming to a close.  Get on it!  Let me know if you need a hand with it....I am happy to share my process and experience.

Friday, October 12, 2012

How Would You Lead If You Were Not Afraid?

This is a guest blog post from my friend & fellow blogger Frank Abbruzzese.  You can follow his blog at  Building Circles - focusing on connecting and leading in your circle of influence.

Imagine if you were not afraid of anything.  Just think about what you would do differently.   What holds you back?   Even successful and great leaders have some fear.    Overcoming this fear and taking the chance to move it aside or deal with the consequences can help you become a more effective leader.

We tend to fall into two general “fear” categories:   afraid of failure or afraid of success.   Think about this for a moment……which one do you fall in?   

I am afraid of failure.   This is the biggest self-motivator in all that I do.    I’m still learning to say no if there is a good chance of complete failure.    Yes, we understand we must make some mistakes, we do fail from time to time and these experiences make us better and more successful.   

Now we cannot be effective leaders by waiting and weighing all the facts by delaying decisions or making non-decisions.   Effective leaders step up, take a snapshot and make a decision to lead successful for the team and for everyone’ best interest.   Making the tough decisions while understanding there may be resistant and even confrontation to those decisions.   Leadership is not about pleasing everyone.   Effective leadership is keeping the best overall interest of everyone in mind.

One of the biggest leadership decisions I have made, once I was not afraid, was to “move the cheese”.  (I did not even know I could move the cheese).  As I led to go find the “new cheese”, I was followed by the team.   Very happy to report had this decision not been made we would have been left behind with “no cheese”.    

Follow Frank on Twitter @frankabbruzzese

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Cornucopia

So in Canada, it is Thanksgiving.
A nice long weekend....and time to reflect on what we are truly grateful for in our lives.

As leaders, this time is the perfect opportunity to share with your team; your colleagues and those in your closest circle how you feel about them.  Does this sound kind of mushy?  Yes.....I am sure it does.  So how do you help others know what they mean to you?  Here are a few ideas:

  1. a personal thank you - note, email, text message (for those who can't do the face to face)
  2. a group thank you and review of accomplishments so far
  3. a face-to-face thank you - with a big smile
  4. wishes for a great weekend -individually with a quick discussion on what the weekend holds
Take your own time to think of the cornucopia of blessings you have - Happy Thanksgiving.

I am grateful for you - my blog-readers and so much more!

Friday, September 21, 2012

You Never Know

Let's take a walk with this chick....
On precarious, skinny legs, this chick looks like it is running full speed ahead....
Do you think the chick knew it could go that fast?
Do you think the chick thought it could move forward at all?
Do you think the chick was ever told it could not move like it is?

With those crazy little wings out for balance, the chick is speeding along.

When was the last time you took the chick's approach to forward momentum?
When was the last time you didn't look back and decided to do something for yourself?

When will the next time be that you simply TRY?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Shift Happens

The journey can sometimes take us to unexpected places.
The people you meet along the way can help you find who you really are because they actually see you from the outside in. (We see ourselves from the inside out....and frankly, we live with ourselves so long our view is kind of jaded)

In the last few months, I have been finding myself shifting.....learning from what is shared with me, how people view what I do and how I do it; with whom I interact and partner; the outcome of those relationships or steps that take place therein.

All of this shifting has lead to solidifying my understanding and focus - sounds weird as I have been doing this for 4 years....but it takes time to hone things so that you are well aligned to move forward.

The shift has also come in image format - soon to be unveiled with a new website and in social networks....making this big shift came upon me without my knowing - it truly was a light bulb....and I thank those around me for creating the light that led the way.

What shifts have you made lately?  What shifts are you planning in the future?
How will you handle the shifts that come when you are not really paying attention??

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Beware of.....Yourself

Yesterday I finally hit the road for a first one in a month.....and I discovered the following things....

  1. beware of the permission others give you to NOT do something, it can be easily translated into giving yourself permission to NOT do it too.
  2. beware of not giving yourself time for run yesterday was 'ME' time....I didn't realize how much I missed it until I was out there having a great time
  3. beware of the how you let yourself overlook the obvious.....even when told by others that you need to be careful or more observant or just simply aware of who you work with, who you partner with and of course, who you allow into your life
  4. beware of yourself.....keep yourself in check and focused on what you want; what you want to do and the way in which you do it....straying can lead to irreparable damage.
So why the birthday cake....well it was my Mom's 70th birthday yesterday and today is my Godmother's birthday  - 2 strong women who have influenced me greatly.  I owe it to them, as well as myself, to be sure that I continue to hit the road for my ME time, and be focused on the values and mission that they helped to carve out for me.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

25 Qualities of a Leader

I surf a lot!   As a Leadership Coach, I know I need to be fresh and creative, be open to looking around for inspiration and solutions.  So I thought, today I would share what I found.

Those of you who know me know I love and Delivering Happiness for inspiration as well as great reading material.

Here is a blog link to a great post by Amy Frost focusing on 25 qualities in a leader...with a twist.
Amy is quick to explain that this leader exists in a happy and thriving workplace....funny how the attitude of the leader is reflected in the workplace team......makes you think, right?


Friday, August 31, 2012

Actionable Books

Chris Taylor
Twitter: @ChrisTaylorGEMi
Taking time to reconnect with a mentor this weekend, she introduced me to Actionable Books.  Although I had heard of this, I had never spent time investigating it.  Now it is all I can do to focus on work and not surf through all of the summaries.


Here is the About Us from the website:

About Us

At Actionable Books, we believe that the business landscape has drastically changed in the last 20 years. As a result, schools and employers are no longer teaching the right skills and attitudes for the competitive 21st century workplace.

Looks like Chris has found an awesome space in the world.  Our lack of time has linked with his passion for reading and teaching others.  Now we have a place to go to get book summaries that zero in on exactly what you need from each book.

It's a must do!  Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


So every month, I earn stars at Starbucks and get a free drink need 15 stars to get this free drink.  I am like a kid with a new toy every time I hear the stars plink-plink in my cup on my iPhone.  I truly fee special because I have a gold card that is now registered to the Starbucks app on my phone.  I know that there are most likely millions of gold card holders....this one is embossed with my name!  I shouldn't feel special.....and yet I DO!

I often think about how excited I get....I even plan my out-of-office meetings at the most convenient Starbucks just so I can take advantage of this app on my iPhone.  I wonder the following things:

  1. am I out-there crazy?
  2. am I loyal to a particular location or is it the overall organization?
  3. am I making too much from this adventure I get to take part in everyday (almost!)?
and then I compare it to my own business....
  1. do I incite this type of loyalty?
  2. how can I ensure that I create advocates that drive my brand for me?
  3. what do I do to make sure that my clients feel special?  Not only my clients, but everyone with whom I come into contact?
This is the key to driving business success.....making people feel special.  Ensuring it is genuine and letting them know that they are valued (my gold stars!  ok.....I was a closet gold star collector in grade school).  It's the feeling that people get when they leave your presence....what do you do to make others feel special?  Is it genuinely part of your brand or an 'I know I have to do this' feeling instead?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Taking Next Steps

There comes a time in every leader's life to take next steps.  What are the criteria to make good choices that lead to next steps?
Here are a few to consider:

  • Is it the right time? Why is this the right time?
  • Are the right people involved?  Who, specifically, are the players and why them?
  • What are the results I am expecting with this step?
  • What issues/challenges am I eliminating with this step?
  • Is this step good for the organization or just good for me? 
  • Why is this step important?
  • Do I know the next step after this one?
  • Does taking this step take me closer to my goals?
Take some time in your next planning session to understand the answers to these questions.  What other questions do you consider in your next steps?

Monday, August 20, 2012

When Is Trust No Longer The Only Thing?

Putting people into the right place is key. Trusting their performance is critical to the end result, right?
When is trust no longer the only thing that matters?

People need to feel/see/hear/know trust - that comes from developing a relationship.  Integrity and authenticity are all words that help align values and signal that inherent trust is developing in a relationship.  Those who walk their talk provide deposits into the 'trust bank'.  Those who simply provide lip service do not make any deposits, in fact, the withdrawals they make are really at least 10X more than anything they would have put into the bank.

What do you do when trust is eroded?  Confrontation, explanation or elimination?
This becomes a difficult choice because so much has already been invested into the relationship - whether a new hire, or a promotion or a personal connection - how much do you risk in this lost trust?

The building blocks are being knocked out - incongruent actions, words and inconsistencies cause the most damage.  Especially when the inconsistencies come from other sources than what you see in front of you as appearance.

This is the leader's dilemma - my husband would say it's about knowing when to fish or cut bait.  Analyzing the fall out of cutting bait is hard - it is truly when the leader must make a choice - and let the fish or building blocks fall where they may.

What situations have you had to work through that focused on trust and nothing else?  How difficult was it to put aside feelings? What struggles have you overcome?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Lessons from Others

A quick post to share what I read with you....a way to learn from others, because what goes around often comes around and lessons are in everyone and every thing!

Thanks to Nadine Nicholson for taking time to share her Dad with us.

Read this post:   7 Lessons from Dad the Entrepreneur

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back to School Already??

This week is always the week that as a family we start to get ready for Back to School.  Even though the boys are 14 & 19.....not really needing mom to do this with them, it is still our time together and we look forward to it.

As a twist, I went back to school last week.  I visited with my friends at GiANT Impact in Atlanta, Georgia. I went to learn more about helping leaders develop a framework that can propel their leadership to new heights, develop their influence so that their leadership words and actions align with their values.  This was completed in 2 different segments - LeaderTrack - about knowing and leading yourself - very powerful, moving and clear; and then Pruning to Grow - a team-based framework to help organizations create healthy, living organisms from the current business they have while developing a culture of examination and pruning to move forward with the best.

I was completely floored by what I learned, what introspection and reflection has developed as well as the grace by which the information was imparted.  Not only did we spend time with the frameworks for this transformational learning, I was fortunate enough to spend time with Jeremie Kubicek - the president of GiANT, discussing my own business, business model and the application of the new frameworks.  I am grateful for the discussion and insight.  This was an opportunity for me to sit on the other side for a change  - a good view from here....taking a step back to examine, make decisions and have a sounding board for next steps.

The most powerful piece of the few days I spent with GiANT came in the form of the comfort I felt being there - you know when you simply fit - the culture, the people, the words and congruent actions - truly a place where people are at home, working and living in their strengths and creating new ways to help others be their absolute best.

Does your work or workplace do this for you? For your team?  How do you step back and look at what you need to do to get there?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Do You LOVE Your Work?

Nadia Shousher is the owner and publisher of Windsor Business - a monthly business news magazine that targets our local area and features great articles, commentary and news!   Nadia attends weekly BNI Meetings to help connect, build relationships and market her business.  At these meetings she hopes to inspire and make people think through word games, puzzles and information.  At one particular meeting she read the following to the group:

10 Things I Love About Windsor Business

1.     There's so much juicy business news in this region, we don't have enough space to print it all. What a great problem to have!

2.     I get to learn all the ins and outs, twists and turns, developments and challenges facing local business well before they become public knowledge.

3.     Through the magazine, I get to meet so many interesting and smart people.

4.     I get to learn from all these smarty pants! How they got where they are, how they achieved their goals, how they face challenges and succeed.

5.     Because of my innate nosiness, I get to ask executives about the stuff we all want to know but don't have an opportunity to ask.

6.     Every day I get to ask questions, read stuff, write stuff, fix other peoples' spelling and grammar, and learn stuff -- all the things I love to do. AND I get to make a great living at it. How many other people are so lucky?

7.     I get to be affiliated with something that is well respected, relied on, and used every day as an important business tool. What an honour.

8.     The editorial integrity of Windsor Business and our ethical business practices are respected in a market that had yet to see such things when we started, especially in this industry. Talk about standing out from the crowd!

9.     I get to work with a great team of professionals: creative designers, photographer and cartoonist, strong business reporters, and Nancy (everyone's favourite BNI alternate).

10. Windsor Business itself. I love the magazine. I gave up a great life to move here and start it. I kiss it when it's delivered. I miss it when I'm away from it. I have nightmares about our clients and rejoice in their success. I love it!

A question for you - what do you love about your work?  Or do you even LOVE it?  If you don't then please explain why you are still doing that!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Jamoolie's Debut

This beautiful creature is a camel.  In Arabic "jummel"...hence the name Jamoolie!

What does this have to do with leadership and business?  Jamoolie is the product of listening and learning about others.  On a recent trip to a very cool store with a very cool person in my life, I came across Jamoolie.  I remembered that a client and now close friend collected camels.  Her office is full of them!  I thought I should pick this one up because I don't recall seeing one like it the last time I was there.

Jamoolie represents heart - the heart of a leader, the heart of a relationship, the heart that leads our heads to the right answer/relationship/step in our lives - business or otherwise.

Connecting with people is more than the giving and receiving of business cards.  It is an investment in time and energy to truly get to know someone.  Who will you truly get to know this week?  What difference can you make in their life simply because the of the investment you have made with time?
Share your plan and your accomplishments - investing time in others will truly change the face & shape of your business.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Business of Sunflowers

Okay - so I know it is a flower-y title.... but it's the truth.  Here are sunflowers from my backyard. How does this relate to leadership?  Here you go:

Two years ago, when we moved into the house, I planted sunflowers in a different location not knowing that they would be tormented and eventually broken by constant wind in our crazy Southwestern Ontario Summer thunderstorms.  I was able to salvage a few, but not a lot.

Last year, I decided to try growing them inside in the late winter from seeds, to get them started and hopefully more hearty by the time they were transplanted.  I started this way too early and they overgrew the peat pots and did not flourish at all when transplanted.

This year, I planted seeds (a little later than usual) and watered them.  The were planted against the back fence and have shelter from the wind and perhaps a little more support because I have tied some to sticks to keep them from falling over (I learned that from my tomatoes & my dad!).  Now I have 8 plants growing well - as you can see from the photo - and flowers starting to bloom.

Lots of story to get to the point.  There are actually 2 points.

  1. People:  look at your team/partners/organization - what have you done to foster the growth you need?  Have you been a victim of doing things the same way all the time to develop the people around you....when they are unique, have unique talents & needs, develop at different rates and differently by environment in which they are placed?  Have you promoted people too early or too late and lost them along the way?  Have you surrounded new leaders with the wrong support?
  2. Business:  are you constantly looking for ways to improve your yield?  Are you learning from mistakes and developing yourself at the same time?  Are you using best practices from your past experiences, the experiences of others; from other businesses including your competition?  Are you anticipating risk opportunities and preparing to meet them head on (think thunderstorm)?
See.  I had a point to make with the business of sunflowers.  Lessons are everywhere.  By sharing our lessons we can all learn and grow. - see photo!

What is your biggest lesson this Summer? Share, please!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Who Hires You?

I was asked this question at a family barbecue earlier this Summer.  I answered the question quite easily and then took time to think that through while working on some client files this week.

It is a great question.

It goes back to knowing your market, your niche, your strengths and what sets you apart from the rest.

Take time, right now - 5 minutes - and answer that question....out loud!  Not on paper where you can fudge and fiddle - say the words.

Here it is....who hires you?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Family Breakfast

Every week I attend and help facilitate a business-owner breakfast meeting.  This is not your typical meeting, and by no means is it as large as this picture shows (not my picture - from Google Images) and nor is it intended to be.  Our focus at Family Breakfast is to help hold each other accountable and talk about the things entrepreneurs and solo-business owners have in common.

The rules are simple - no pitching or pontificating, politics stay off the table, open discussion and laughter welcome.

We share a lot.  We laugh a lot.  We support a local business.  Our group has grown from 10 to 18 in 8 months....where we will no longer be adding until people drop out.  It is getting unweildly and hard to hold conversation/discussions, instead, we are having answers provided around the table.

Anyway.....I digress (see shiny object syndrome strikes again!).....last week our theme was a little outside the box - it was Movie Day.  What movie and/or lines from a movie inspire you and your business?

Here is the list that developed:

Duck Tales - work smarter, not harder. 
Remember the Titans - of course there is the Gettysburg scene, but this one truly rocks (in fact, I am wiping tears away as I see a leader step into his own!)

Lion King  - Hakuna Matata 

 GI Jane - the whole movie, while waiting for her to fail she becomes successful, this is hurdle fixer when going gets tough
the Ultimate Gift...the story of the movie, has a list of things to do to receive a legacy, must find a way to achieve and change to get the 

It's a Wonderful Life.... Totally realizes what could happen, eye opener
Rainman - slow changes throughout the movie and money becomes less of a issue

Star Wars -the Yoda teachings

Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn - life is too short to sweat the small stuff!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Simplify Part 2

A quick update to keep you posted on the Simplify focus of 2012.
It has not been easy. In fact, yesterday was ' shiny object day'.  Bless my clients and appointments for sticking with me.  I do find that there are days when I can get easily distracted.  Fortunately, my clients seem to have some of the same tendencies because we are all so engaged in what we do, work to learn more about how to make a difference and want to make sure we cover every single point so that we do not miss something imperative (for the moment) and waste time later.

Simplifying my life has been so refreshing.  

  • It has become easier to say NO to what needs a NO.  
  • It has become easier to not explain myself to others and work towards staying focused instead.
  • I have become focused on giving and connecting as opposed to getting and collecting (a huge weight off my shoulders & my heart!)
  • I have been able to transfer these same processes and feeling from work to everyday life - a good goal right?!
Part of simplification is making sure that my goals still align to this philosophy.  Looking at my first half 2012 goals, I know that I am on track with execution (where the numbers may not match particularly), and I know where I need to focus to finish 2012 strong!  Best part is, that there are things in the work for launch in the back half that will help me fulfil my plan even though, when I created the plan, the look of those particular items were not exactly what I thought would evolve.  Trusting in the universe to provide certainly works - putting out the right vibrations enable the laws of attraction (laws of nature) to work through us.

Have you started to simplify your life?  What is working?  What is slipping away from you?  Let's talk and see if we can help each other figure this out.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I must confess that I have broken the first rule of being present in social media.....
I took a break.
I stopped publishing and tweeting unless it was an in-the-moment thing.
And guess what?

I had a few followers ask if I was okay.  I had a few followers tell me they missed me (thanks btw) but mostly, it felt like I was a blip and perhaps not as relevant as I thought.

Well, I took time to think about this - if I only influence one person to make a change, to become better, to focus more, then I have accomplished something great.  I am taking my own personal focus to a new level, becoming more streamlined, finding more bloggers, creative minds and thought leaders to follow as well as comment in their space.  This I can attribute to research - or curiosity and learning from the best ( as I see the best).  This time has been beneficial - showing me that I like to blog - that I like to tweet and follow.  At the same time, I have found what I don't like and have made those changes as well.  I guess as a time-out, it worked!

So did it hurt to break the rules?  Not at all. In fact, I think I just re-wrote them for myself.

How often do you find time to break the rules, stray from the norm - the expected, to see where it can take you?  What do you do with this fresh info?  Do you work hard to change the habit or routine, or do you stick it out anyway?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Playing at Being a Leader

When we were kids, we would play Hide and Seek.  You know, one person would close their eyes and count to 30 while the others went to hide.  Then the counter would have to go find the others where they were hiding.  Sound familiar?
Does this ever happen to you at work?
Do you have a leader who plays Hide and Seek with you?
This would be the leader who sits in their office all day, only coming out to see where everyone is at 6 pm - dooing a head count to see who stayed late.
Or if you are on the road - this would be the leader who drives from one location under your responsibility to the next looking for you, making sure they tell everyone at the location they are looking for you, but has yet to call you to find out where you actually are today.

What do you do?  In the office - work what you are scheduled or planned to work.  The leader has no bone to pick with you if your work is done - staying late does not necessarily mean you are being effective/
On the road - you have most likely already provided your schedule to the leader - stick to it.  When you are notified by one of your team members that the leader is looking for you, call the leader and remind them of your schedule for the day.  Remember to ask if they were seeking you out for something specific so that you can handle it right away and get back to your day.