Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Monday???? Already???

I know it's not Monday, but why do some days always feel like they are, a client asked me recently.
In our discussion, we got down to the nitty-gritty - it is the fact that when we are not organized, it always feels like we are starting from scratch - like the never-ending Groundhog Day scenario.

What are a few ways we can avoid this overwhelming feeling of panic:

    1. get organized - I know, easier said than done! in the last 6 months I have focused on testing out online tools, apps and cloud solutions that could help me get better at staying organized.  Let's face it, most of us can get organized, it's building the habit that needs the work.  Let me know if you would like me to share my tools with you - they are working!
    2. get help - have the right people doing the work for you.  This makes sense, even if pennies are being pinched, you need to focus on doing what you do best...let others do the same for you.  The sense of relief is awesome, as well as the opportunity to have new ideas enter into your business.
    3. get some peace - take a breath every morning before you jump in and do what bothers you the most. Once this is out of the way, the rest seems to lead to a more peaceful day (many call this the 'eat that frog' scenario).  The conclusion to this is to check off everything you did today or make a list so that you can see that you are moving forward
Last - and certainly not least - STOP comparing what you do to what everyone else does.  You are unique. You work in a different way.  Your goals are your own.  Some people are morning people, some are not.  The sooner we each face this reality, the better off we will be and the 'everyday is Monday' will no longer create panic but allow us to embrace what we are working on in this moment.

Friday, July 26, 2013

What Gets Repeated Gets Remembered

I am not sure if I can say it any more clearly than that!
This is a must - everyday.
Find tools, use post-it notes, set reminders in your phone, there are apps out there...... tell others to hold you accountable for it, but at the end, whatever you do... 
(the money is only in the list if you follow up the list)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Your Business Is Growing Up

With the announcement of the birth of the new baby prince of England, and the fact that everything is growing like crazy outside because of the rain and sun, I started to think about how my business is growing up!  It is amazing how time flies.  Have you stopped to take stock in the following:

  1. What you and your team have accomplished in the past 12 months?
  2. The clients you have attracted?
  3. The new processes you have developed?
  4. The efficiencies you have created?
  5. The money you have made?
Reflecting on the growth chart above - where do you see your business?
Is your business still a fledgling, learning to walk before it can run?
Is your business getting ready for the next phase of life like going off to school - elementary or secondary?
Is your business showing off it's drivers license, ready to take on the outside world without protection from the parents?
Is your business moving to new areas?
Is your business ready to retire and start a new chapter?

Lots to consider when you look at the phases through which your business will pass.  It takes time and dedication, heart and soul to get it to where it is today.  What does tomorrow look like? How will you get it there?

I have been revising my Q4 plan for 2013 and putting all of 2014 on paper.  It is a great process - I love this time of year.  I would be happy to share this process with you - let me know if you are interested.  See, with nothing on paper to which to compare your actual numbers and activities, your business will perhaps grow in odd direction, not like you wanted it too.  With a plan in place, at least you can guide your success and measure your business growth and personal development.  Without a plan, how will you know if you are ready to retire?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Does This Help You?

So, have you done what the sign says this week?

Banging your head against the wall (or any hard surface) rarely helps anything...except it may take your mind off of what is currently bothering you because now you have a headache!!

Here's the deal:  stop and think about what you may have done to create this scenario and STOP it!
Sometimes you may not have created the situation, but you can control it or create the steps to stop it in it's tracks.
Example:  if you are implementing a change, make sure you have over - communicated the outcomes, responsibilities and potential roadblocks.  Make yourself available to follow up on the change implementation throughout the process, listening to those involved to help massage what needs to be smoothed over or corrected.

In this world, we deal (mostly) with humans.  We can sometimes feel that we have asked for the same thing a million times or people should just know - common sense sometimes is not that common - and our own description of common sense may well be different than everyone else's.  Everyone has their own set of experiences they draw from - so how you said what you said or expected without saying it, can definitely lead to interpretations.  Here's what to do:

  • ask if the expectations are clear
  • ask them to repeat the plan, and the steps
  • ask if they can handle it
  • ask for a set feedback and follow up time - how long will it take to get this done/in place etc.
  • let them know you are there for support and more questions as needed
This even applies to daily job tasks that you feel may be slipping....sounds insane, I take your time to ensure you have done everything you can to ensure success.  At the end of all this, if you are still banging your head, it may be time to look at the capabilities of whoever is on your team and determine if the fit is right.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Alone in the Crowd

Have you ever felt like you were alone in the crowd? That you were the odd one out?  This can be the lonely life of a leader unless:
  • the leader focuses on engaging the team in the vision
  • the leader ensures they have the right people in the right seats
  • the leader surrounds themselves with the best & the brightest to ensure great results
  • the leader keeps the team informed and clear on the business priorities
  • the leader is authentic
  • the leader has 'skin in the game'
  • the leader is working for others
While it sometimes may feel like the leader is out there alone, there are many opportunities to tap into your network or meet others in the same position or role to find support and camaraderie.  Check out your local networking groups, clubs, associations and mastermind teams.  If you cannot find a team that suits your needs in person, there are virtual ones too.  Leaders know they cannot go it alone.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Creating a Laser Focus

Every year at this same time of year I take time out to review the past 6 months and plan for the next 6 months and beyond.

I have spend significant time reading books - because I LOVE BOOKS - in their whole scope and as well as summaries.  The more reading I have done to prepare for this segment of my year, I have found that there is one thing in common - a laser focus.  I also realized that this is one thing missing from my own business - a laser focus.

Here is what I did to get there:  (and believe me it is still in development & extremely uncomfortable)

  1. set aside time each month of July through December to focus specifically ON my business
  2. plan each month what I would look at in those 'project weeks' (soon to be called Focus Weeks)
    • July:  the business of all the ideas that have accumulated and what actually relates to my core
      • oh yes, determining to stick to my core
    • August:  creating the plan to drive business and relationships
    • September: outlining all of 2014
  3. actually do the work of eliminating what does not match my core focus for the business
    • this means looking at my ideas in a new way
      • is there a test process for them?
      • who can I discuss them with?
      • can I create focus groups that will help me realize this?
  4. do the work of creating great stuff with the tools that I have acquired
That's it - so far it's working. I feel that I have removed some obstacles that we making me 'stuck'- I even used "Unstuck" to get there......and it feels great.

Flying solo is not easy - and taking this time makes me feel refreshed and even more excited about my business - I am finding new ways to develop the business and myself.  Could I ask for more?

How do you reflect and refocus your business & your own development?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Support Teams

Often we need a hand.  When we work to become the leaders we know we can be, the hands that reach towards you are many and often from surprising areas.

This past week, a client suffered a setback in their plan.  By focusing on the core issue (after venting and eliminating the toxic energy of anger, hurt and disappointment) we looked at how to resolve the core and made a list of who could help either directly or indirectly.

By doing this, and send out a short message with a clearly stated focus sentence, literally - within 5 minutes, responses of support, ideas, or other connections and actual help were coming back to them.  Over the next 3 days, solid decisions could be made on how to move forward and change the downward trajectory into a definite positive step forward.

Talking at the end of the week as a recap, we looked at the power of building a solid network and the support that can come from it when you least expect it and most need it.  This support team is built by face-to-face relationship building and ongoing communication.  Does this mean you need to be in everyone's face everyday?  Certainly not.  This is about taking time to learn about people.  Letting yourself be open to allowing others to get to know you as well as being open enough to provide support to others as well.

It was a tough week - lots of worrying.  At the end, the lesson is in the support team - who is on yours? And whose are you on?

Friday, July 5, 2013

How Many Bowls Can You Swim In?

Relationships can be odd little things.  How they work can be difficult to figure out. How do you go from one to another without seeming false?  Is it as easy as jumping into another bowl?   Here are a few ways to ensure that no matter in whose bowl you are swimming, you will always be fine:

  1. Be authentic - people want to know you, the real you.  Who you are should be very apparent in all forms of communication - email, snail mail, voicemail and social networks.
  2. Be true to your values - it's okay to only allow the right people into your close space.  The wrong people will sap your energy, undermine your attitude and potentially disconnect you from yourself.
  3. Be open - it takes time to develop relationships so being open to starting them by listening, asking questions and providing value can make all the difference to starting off well.
Lastly, understand that people are in your life (as I have said before) for a reason, a season or a lifetime - it is definitely okay to realize this and be grateful for the lessons that come with the opportunity of getting someone for however long the time was.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Power of More than One

It can look like a 'mind-meld', or Sheldon Cooper putting his fingers to the side of his head, at his temples and hoping to influence Leonard to do something ( or at the very least, make his head explode). In fact, it is quite the opposite - getting focus and clarity for your business can quickly come from listening to the experiences, challenges and opportunities of other business leaders.

Over the last few weeks, having spent time with many clients and prospects simply evaluating the business landscape and asking a few questions, I learned something very interesting about myself and my business.

The questions related to the following:

  • what do you see as your next steps in the next 12 months?
  • how do you see your business at the end of 2013?
  • where is your business at the moment?
  • how has 2013 been so far?
Doing this mid-year review with people, I found many positive answers with words like 'momentum', 'transition', 'growth', 'focus', 'new' and many more.  I was delighted.  I live and work in an area where there is usually some sort of 'poor me' mentality but I could not find it here.  When I asked that specific question - why not? The answer was this:

People who are suffering from doom & gloom complexes and complacency are not looking for me...I am not in the habit of looking for doom & gloom - my focus and the focus of my business is to drive success and help others move forward - professionally, financially & personally.

Wow! Talk about an ah-ha moment.  Now I have the opportunity to laser focus my business even more because of this valuable insight that was provided to me by more than one mind in the last few weeks.

Thanks all!  You have helped me shift (again!)