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.