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?