Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

Enjoy a wonderful celebration of 2014.
Enjoy a wonderful kick off to 2015.
Many blessing for a fabulous & happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Last Work Day of 2014

Let's face it - today is really the last day of 2014 for work.  Even if you go into the office tomorrow, you are most likely putting in time.  It's an early day and you are planning for the evening's end of year festivities.

So today - take time to get organized for 2015 to start...

  1. get the files put away that have been sitting on your desk just waiting to go
  2. put the pens and markers in their place
  3. declutter the stuff that is making your workspace intimidating (to me, that means making piles of paper and books because I thrive when things are a little messy....just not cluttered)
  4. dust, vacuum or sweep
  5. clean the keyboard & screen
  6. wash off your desk so that it is fresh and clean
  7. if you are ambitious - re-arrange your furniture (I am going to do this!!)
It is amazing how, when you busy yourself with all the decluttering and cleaning, that ideas start to flow.  Watch out!  Have note-taking equipment at the ready.....

Monday, December 29, 2014

Shining A Light on What's Done

Posts this time of year usually come from reflection on what has passed in the previous 11 months.  This one is no different.

It's time to shine a light on what got done, didn't get done and how to overcome that baggage next year.  Just like the trees lit up at this time of year, when you see them there are really 2 different perspectives - all the tiny lights or the total glow of the tree.

Let's look at the tiny lights of my business (and by no means is this everything....)

What got done (the bright bulbs):

    • new clients on boarded
    • clients completing their coaching 
    • flushing out of roadmap to success - my process
    • deeper understanding of where I like to spend my time
    • focus on implementation
What didn't get done (the burnt out bulbs):

    • didn't get the book published
    • didn't post all 100 days before the end of the year - missed 14!!
    • didn't start next Mastermind Team
    • didn't get as physically active as needed (I like my chair & my Mac)
    • didn't unplug enough
So now what happens?  After using my worksheets throughout the month of November and executing the details that will get 2015 off to a great start, I have a calm and peace about next steps.

By shining a light on what's done, it's much easier to get to the next steps and focus.  Take apart all of the tiny lights of your business - the ones that help to create that beautiful glow....and eliminate the burnt out bulbs.  While those burnt out bulbs may not affect the overall glow, they can somewhat diminish the brightness.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Time to Chill

What to do on the last Sunday of 2014?
Take it easy.

One thing my husband and I do on this day every year is plan our vacation time for the coming year.  We take out a calendar and plan the dates we want to take off for any number of reasons including:

  • vacations in the hot sun
  • day trips to explore new (or old) venues in our immediate area
  • weekends with friends
  • stay-cation days in our back yard
  • birthdays  - milestones and not-so-milestones
  • special events - this coming year we have a University Graduation, a High School Graduation and a College Graduation + a family wedding
We love doing this - and while some of you may say it's micro-managing our time off, it really is not - it truly gives us something to look forward to pretty well each month of the year.

And with the ability to focus (and plan, because some of this costs money & needs organizing!!!) on our moments of 'chill time', then getting the work done becomes more focused too.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Jingle All The Way

Time ticks on pretty quickly these days.
With the tinsel on the trees, offices decorated festively and gifts exchanged, it's almost time to get back to work.

How can you keep that feeling of joy, anticipation & excitement going all year round?  It won't be enough to keep the Christmas lights up or the jingle balls hung around the office will it.

How about trying a few of these things:

  • a monthly gift-giving session - share with each other what one person on your team has provided as a 'gift' to you....examples could include:  getting work completed before the deadline, collaborating on a solution to a client issue, baking the best chocolate chip cookies, listening .....
  • a tree board - use post-its to create a 'tree' every time a team member's birthday goes by - recognizing the day they were born, the most precious gift
  • give a quarterly pot luck to raise funds for the less fortunate (instead of only once per year)
  • have Christmas in July - a team building crafting session that donates the product to a local charity for the holidays - try knitting or crocheting mitts or scarves
  • ring the bells - celebrate client milestones and successes by jingling a few bells - the tinkling noise will certainly make you think about this time of year, and smile.

Friday, December 26, 2014


I get it.
It's completely counter-intuitive to unplug on the day after Christmas!
With cool new toys unwrapped and ready to use, how could you possibly unplug?!

Easy - put the new toys away.  Enjoy the day with your friends, family and the world around you.

In Canada - it's Boxing Day - an actual it.  Come on?  What have you got to lose?
Your text messages and emails will still be there tomorrow.

Chill.  Enjoy!

We all need it....and you will feel better for it.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas to You!

Merry Christmas to You & Yours.

May the peace, joy & happiness of the season be yours - today & all the year through.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Gifts We Get

The time of gifts & giving.....
Do we take time to think about the gifts we get at any other time of the year?
And what do we do when we get them?

  • the gift of a smile on a tough day
  • the gift of a hug
  • the gift of someone's time
  • the gift of sunshine
  • the gift of energy, passion and commitment
  • the gift of encouragement & a listening ear
Acknowledging the gifts we get - through written words in cards, journalling or verbally articulating our gratitude is a start. 

The real way to be grateful for those gifts, is to pass it on.

Each year, on Christmas Eve, we attend Mass at our childhood church with my parents.  My sons - nearing and in their 20's - happily attend, just to see the smiles on their Nonne & Nonno's faces.  These are all gifts - reciprocated.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Festivus!

This is an invented holiday - somewhat like a lot of them throughout the year.
I just love the episode on Seinfeld - like so many others.

As I researched, there is even a website dedicated to all things Festivus -

If you are thinking about celebrating Festivus - here are the rules.
If you know nothing about Festivus, it was started by Frank Costanza (George's dad) because he couldn't get George the doll he wanted for Christmas & had become fed up with the commercialization of Christmas.  

(I am chuckling as I read & write, this seems like a good way to purge all the toxic craziness that has plagued us all year - we need to vent that out too!)

Monday, December 22, 2014

So, What Do You Know About 2014?

The season is upon us now
a time for gifts and giving.
As the year draws to it's close, 
I think about my living.....

These are lyrics from 'A Baby Just Like You' - originally by Frank Sinatra and more recently (still over 22 years ago, by John Denver & The Muppets)...and the words hit me every time.

I love music - and I listen especially to the words.  And I let the tears come to my eyes as they usually do.  So let's take a stroll through these words at this time of year....

When the last days of the year approach, taking time to reflect on the year that was gives us many things:
~ comfort ~ hope ~ ideas ~ longing ~ focus ~ understanding ~ opportunities for gratitude ~

and I am sure many more to think about. 

Reading blog posts, articles and newsletters from my online community connections, this is a topic that is featured multiple times.  I have also completed this exercise with my Mastermind Teams over the last few sessions in order to prepare for a solid start to the New Year.

Here is the process we followed:
  • with 2 worksheets, we focused on reflection in 2 ways 
    1. action (what did we do or not do)
    2. learning (what did we learn from the doing or not doing)
  • I spent time reviewing the year in notes from our sessions, visuals of our flipcharts and reminding each team member of what they did (it helps to do this exercise with someone who knows you and your business because they can sometimes see what you have already moved past even though they were valid accomplishments.)
  • Once we completed documenting the information, I asked each of them, in our individual follow up coaching session, 
    • what they could do with the learning and reflection?  
    • how can they apply this to next year's goals?
    • what have they left behind that is no longer required (as a goal or a commitment or comfort-zone)?
  • From here we are ready to flush out what's important for next year - the actions we want to take, and applying the learning to ensure we hit our mark.

Download your own worksheets & get started.  Let me know how you are doing.

Special thanks to Chris Taylor at Actionable Books - I adapted these worksheets from a great annual review he created and shared with his team, and his community!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Are You Brave?

Join us on May 8, 2015

I am very fortunate to be among a group of organizations that host Leadercast each year.  This is a Full Day LIVE Simulcast event that creates a great opportunity for leaders to connect, meet, grow and learn from each other.  The team at Leadercast does an awesome job at focusing the subject matter from well-known (and loved!) speakers to a single theme that resonates around the world.

Oddly enough, with 2014 being my 'Year of the Brave', our theme for Leadercast 2015 is 'The Brave Ones'.  Working on developing my plan for this event in May next year, I have read some of the books by the authors that are speaking and really started to look at my own community through a new lens - the one of this theme.

Bravery is about possessing a posture of unrelenting boldness.
an essential behaviour for any leader is the act of bravery.  Bravery is not a moniker that can be cannot be self-appointed.  Bravery is not attributed to everyone, but is reserved for those whose innovation in their industry cause them to stand out from the crowd, whose unyielding effort and error push their organizations into new territories, and whose boldness compels them to stand up for those less fortunate.  These are the Brave Ones.    (from Leadercast 2015)

Looking at the world through this lens has allowed me to open up my own view to bravery and who has fulfilled that action in the past.  In my immediate family I can attribute this to my Dad - an Italian immigrant who came to Canada to start a new life for himself and his parents without any knowledge of the language or where he would settle; to my sons - both who found the courage to take steps to control their own lives at very young ages (15 & 11) and make choices that were against the grain.  My husband, who figured out his passion and stuck to it to become well-known in his field (without a post-secondary education) and is now focusing on others he can help find their way with education and focus.

Do those examples fit the description above completely?  Perhaps not.  Others have done similar things I am sure.  To me though, those acts were/are life-changing and set the tone for them to continue to make bold decisions and stand out from the crowd because of what they have accomplished so far.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Bounce Back

You may think I am talking about an email gone awry.
In fact, I am talking about resilience - the ability to bounce back.

Leader who are resilient have a knack and aptitude for moving forward even when stress and pressure are mounting.

  • Resilient leaders keep calm
  • Resilient leaders check their egos and figure out what's next
  • Resilient leaders channel the stress into passion 
  • Resilient leaders lead others to a safe landing
  • Resilient leaders identify stress points in advance and develop coping mechanisms, becoming a problem solver rather than a problem 'reactor'.
  • Resilient leaders stay positive 

With year end approaching, there will be some stress to get projects wrapped up, dollars in the accounts and deals closed.  How resilient are you?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Cadence of Your Business

In a meeting with Paul Foster, the Business Therapist, and another mutual client, he used the word 'cadence' to describe the meeting timing we would be following.

I love that word.

It brought to mind a regular flow and rhythm leading to accountability that could be measured and follow up that could be executed in a timely manner.

Read a blog post from Paul on how leaders set the cadence of their business.

Then take a moment and reflect on the cadence of your business, and just who is setting that.

When you look at your business you will be able to see a regular ebb & flow.  Even the most fast-paced tech company has a beat to it....a cadence, a musical rhythm that they fall into - even in development.  It may be a seasonality - like retail.  It may be a regular client meeting schedule.  It may be a regular process that is followed at a certain time.

What did you find out?

(I can hear the metronome in the background.)

Friday, November 28, 2014

What is On Your Meeting Agenda?

It's time to review all the meetings we have had in the last year.
Ask yourself this:

  • how many meetings did I have this week?
  • how productive were they?
  • did they each accomplish the objectives they were set out to?
  • what actions did I take away and execute?
  • what did I learn from each meeting host that I can apply to my own meetings?

In having these same discussions with clients as we start to wrap up one year and head into the next, I am drawn to the same question over and over.
When writing a meeting agenda, do you also attach to the notes, the objective of that particular item or the time spent?

Example:  If the agenda item is about compensation for 2015/2016, is the objective to have a discussion, make a decision or simply share information?

Once you have decided the objective of each topic and share this with the meeting attendees in advance, you will find a more succinct and productive meeting.

Two other tips that work with meetings:

  1. have them standing up - increases blood-flow as well as sense of urgency around getting through the items
  2. schedule meetings for 45 minutes instead of an hour - the same will be accomplished because of your fabulously clear meeting agenda and everyone will get some extra time back into their day. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanking You Today

A quick post to thank you for all you bring to my life.
I am truly blessed.
Enjoy a wonderful day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Things that Get in the Way

It has been an interesting past few days.
See, last week, I had a household accident and broke some toes.
Funny how toes can really hurt - they are so small, and you think inconsequential until something happens to them.

Now think about all the small processes you follow, all the seemingly small things you do, the decisions you make every day, all day long.

If one of the pieces was broken, what would you do?

  • Could you still go about your day?  
  • What changes would you have to make?
  • What creative solutions would you come up with to still get everything done?  
  • Or could you use this blessing in disguise to figure out what can be eliminated permanently?

This 'broken-ness' is getting in the way.  So instead, make it useful.
Thankfully, my clients have been understanding of appointment changes and location changes.

And, my kids & wonderful husband help out, while laughing, in whatever way they can as I am wearing a fancy boot on my left foot and getting around is interesting.

We have had to re-organize.  I have had to become creative about getting house-type things done, and getting to and from meetings.  It's an in-the-flow process.

So when things get in the way - take a moment and breathe.  It happens.  So stop, regroup (put your foot up for a second, in my case) and then keep moving.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Boost, Now!

When we wind down the year, sometimes it's hard to get to the end of the line/project and we need a boost.

As leaders, we need to be able to identify the signs that our teams give us so that we can help them achieve those last objectives before the year-end arrives.

What do you do to boost that energy?  Here are a few ideas:

  • take an afternoon out as a team to re-align projects and understand exactly what needs to be and rejuvenated 
  • have a group lunch or breakfast with no talk of time
  • watch an inspirational or no-brainer movie together, with popcorn and all the trimmings (the brain break will help create focus)
  • implement a daily 5 minute recap huddle to share progress and quickly overcome obstacles....builds momentum, helps share the issues
  • celebrate successes each day.....creates a checkmark and solidifies feeling of completion
  • chocolate & treats....actual energy boost...sugar always works!
  • breathing time to refocus the brain with oxygen
  • leeway....everyone boosts differently, give the team some leeway & let them share their energy-boosting ideas with the team

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Have Seeds Have You Planted Lately?

We are constantly planting seeds.  The words we use, the expressions on our face, the body language we present, can all be considered seeds.

When we think about our work, our teams, our families, our clients and ourselves, we need constant nourishment to move forward.  We need actual food, and at the same time we also need hugs, words of praise or recognition, good conversations, inspiration and smiles.  We need positive interactions that fuel us.  All of this helps us build momentum, build confidence, gives us strength.

Think about your latest interactions.  Have you planted seeds?  Have you provided nourishment to those seeds?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Make Your Own Road

Reflecting on the week, I was happy to discover that I was able to engage with so many wonderful people who are making their own roads.

  • cool clients who 
    • are seeking new ways to apply their skills
    • are collaborating with others in their industry to become better at what they do and improve the products they provide
    • are reaching across continents to tap into skills that can push them further
    • are putting on the brakes and working in bite sized pieces to be able to test their work and move forward with working parts
    • are facing their fears and reaching new clients
    • are asking questions and looking for help
    • are failing and picking themselves up and moving on with renewed energy
    • are looking to the future and planning next steps
How was your week?  What are you doing to make your own road?

Friday, November 21, 2014

This is Clear

I simply wanted to share this image & quote says quite a lot!
What is dragging you?
Who is dragging you?
Why are you letting that happen?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Snow Day, Really?

Alright, it's the middle of November and there is snow everywhere.  As a southwestern Ontario-born Canadian, this is a little off!  This is like February weather!!!  And  I don't like snow or cold then either.

Does this mean we are in for a long, cold, crummy winter?  Possibly.

Dwelling on this cold and snow led me to think about how our teams feel when we are tackling projects or stuck in a productivity rut, what do we do to help our teams see the positive and through the snow squall that is looming?

  1. as leaders, do we anticipate the needs of the project/problem from the team's perspective?
  2. as leaders, have we understood the obstacles that could be standing in the way?
  3. as leaders, have we connected with the team to brainstorm ways of getting through the problem and reaching our objectives within the prescribed/committed timelines?
  4. as leaders, have we allayed the team's anxiety by sharing our commitment to them and inspiring their next steps?
  • for the snow day - 
    • have we pulled out the winter clothes, stocked the car with the scraper and wiper fluid, grabbed mitts & hats, boots & scarves?
    • have we planned easier routes to travel so that we can avoid roads that could be dangerous?
    • have we stocked up on hot chocolate and warm goodies to share?
    • have we made sure that the fireplace is ready & planned a fun day in with movies of the season?
It's all in the attitude & the approach - attitude reflects leadership!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What's On the 'Let Go' List

Hopefully you have found some time to reflect on the past year in business.....if not, get to it.
In reflecting, I am sure you have taken stock of goals achieved, goals missed, things still in progress or on radar, financial results, appointments & meetings held, proposals written, team members added and many more things.

All that said - have you figured out what did not work?  What goals no longer mean anything?  What processes and habits that are still needed?

It's time to figure out what to let go of so that you can move forward with planning 2015.

Try this:

  • write out & look at your current day-in-the-life (what you routinely do everyday!)
  • examine what activities you are completing juste because you always have in the past and decide why you do them by the following list
    • just because I always have 
    • because they are fun 
    • simply because they give me a great start to my day/afternoon/evening
    • because they drive sales
    • because they connect me with people
    • because they stretch me
    • because I have to
  • think about how much value they add to your day
  • think about if those activities make you more productive.
It is difficult to let go of activities in our routine - almost as hard as creating new habits to replace them.  This is the challenge.

The next 6 weeks will lead us all to the end of 2014 - building this 'let go' list in advance, even if it is a list of 1 thing will make a difference in the New Year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reasons, Seasons & Lifetimes

Last week a dear friend, who I met by producing a monthly meeting many years ago, moved to a new State and a new job.  He dropped by to give back a few books he borrowed...and we shared one last hug.

I'll miss his quiet voice, his even temper and his thoughtfulness.  His insight was different as was his perspective and he always made me think.

I am grateful for having him in my life - for the reason & the season.

As leaders with engaged teams (or even disengaged teams) do we think about the reasons, seasons and lifetimes that come as gifts from the people with whom we build relationships?

While we may realize, as the poem says, people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a we actually stop, while they are in our lives,  or at least, if they leave our lives to realize what they brought to us?  What they brought to our team or our organization?

This can be said of team members, clients and even family members.

Take time to reflect today on the gifts from the people in your life - the ones who have moved on specifically - what have they left you with that you use today?

Monday, November 17, 2014

New Glasses for Leaders

I needed to get new glasses....and that sucked....
I realized a few years ago that, when driving at night, I didn't need to see the road signs because I simply knew the way to get where I needed to go.  And so, I admitted to myself that I needed glasses. 
I did not like that at all!

And in the last few months, I needed to update my prescription - even worse.  What a blow!
Anyway - I did it....and bought new glasses.  And now I can see much better.
Don't worry, they are not the fancy/tech-y ones in the picture...they are pretty regular = black and silver, of course.

Thinking about those glasses, I started to think about how we lead.
Do we always have the same glasses on or are we afraid to update our prescriptions?
Even worse, are we afraid to admit that we need glasses at all - to see things (and people) better?  or more clearly.  Or do we let our own self-image get in the way of seeing clearly?

Just a thought.  How are your glasses today?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Old School

You have seen my post-its and my markers, and that I live with my iPad....and there are some times when kicking it old school can really get the juices flowing.

I was invited to prepare a proposal for a multi-day leadership workshop with a small group.  One of the criteria from the leadership team offering me this chance was that all digital tools needed to be off during the event.  Since this group is very high-tech, this would be a challenge.

My Plan:
Collect all the gadgets at the beginning of each session.
Let the group know the plan so that they can get back to their tools and connections.
Take more frequent breaks so that they can check in (they will be tetchy otherwise and I will lose them along the way)
Give a long lunch that gives them space to get back up to speed
Thank them profusely for participating.

Sound odd?  I don't think so our world and work today we are always attached.  We have to find ways to make the tools and people go together & allow learning and free head-space to take place.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Guess What Is Coming?

The New Year is truly right around the corner.
Are you ready to review 2014?
And set new goals for 2015?

Try this:
make a list of everything you accomplished this year by going through your calendar
You will be so amazed at the number of appointments you had, new people you met, deals you closed.

Use this review to set your plans for next year.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Creativity is Sitting Still

So many things can come together in new and innovative ways.  Creativity comes to us when we pause.  When we allow the world to give us gifts.  When we let focus become unfocused and we take joy in the little things around us.

Last week, at an appointment, the service provider said to me 'sit still for a few moments & I will be right back'.  I was so grateful for the permission to 'sit still'.  In this world where we move at a million miles per hour (okay, figuratively, not literally!) I was given permission to sit still.  I thanked her.

And then, I berated myself for having to seek permission to sit still.  Now I am following the Oprah-what-I-know-for-sure principle of finding time every day to 'sit still'.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Watch Where You Are Walking

With technology all around us, it is really easy to get caught up in looking at our tech-toys and not watching where we are walking.

Not only can it be dangerous (watch a video) - it is also difficult to be present for the responses too.

It's Monday - take your time today.  Pay attention & be present.  Put the tech toys away as you walk, and especially as you interact with others.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Which One Are You?

Have you seen this before?
Which one are you?
A simple thought as you plan your week.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Work or Life or Both

Not sure if you know about this - the Downtown Project is an inspiration to the world & a challenge to other communities to figure out how to capitalize on the space/people/talent/energy they have in their midst.

I share this project as an example to lots of clients - a way that things can be done differently.

Gaping Void's image above truly says it all - I believe that there is no such thing as work-life's about integration.  Work and Life together make up who you are...and that comes from the heart & love....

Friday, November 7, 2014

Who Is Your Smelly Cat?

You all know I love Friends!  and Phoebe is a particular favourite.  (story-alert:  in the past I have been likened to Phoebe and I take it as a complement every time!)

Think about Smelly Cat - what are they feeding the smelly cat?

Think about your team.  Do you have a team member who is always slightly off?  Does the rest of the team compensate for them?  Things are 'not their fault'?

You will need to ascertain what the smelly cat needs.  Do they need a development plan?  Do they need to understand their role and how it fits with the team?  Do you need to help the team understand how each role fits together?

Go find your smelly cat.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


As we grow in life, and business, things evolve.
Here is my new logo - well, the tag line is new.

In the last 2 years, I have travelled the road of development (- a favourite focus of mine!) and when assessing, reviewing and planning, my work has become more tailored to leadership strategy - coaching for leaders on leading business, teams and themselves in better, deeper and more authentic ways.

From this internal work, I have discovered that I also have my own unique process, that thanks to many books, authors and tests, it has become pretty standard.  While I just typed that, I also know that it will evolve too, as I grow and as my clients evolve too.

So, on the heals of this, in the next few weeks, you will see an updated website and blog.  Be ready.
And of course, feedback is always welcome.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Do You Know This About Your Team?

A quick thought - do you know if this is how your team feels?  Are they engaged?
If you don't know, you should find out.
Here are 3 quick ways to do that:

  1. anonymous survey - ask how they rate themselves on the points above
  2. town hall meeting - open discussion on engagement and values
  3. brainstorming session - get them talking about the organization and how to move it forward
When your team is engaged, you will see an up-tick in morale, productivity, client satisfaction and even bottom line results.

Check it out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

One of These is Not Like the Other

Role fit is one of the keys to finding your place on your team.
Whether this team is at work, at home or even in your community.

Here is an example at home:
A friend has recently separated from their spouse.  The eldest child in the home took over the role of the other parent by ensuring that the other children in the house were up on time for school, had their homework completed and went to bed on time. (Not an optimal situation, I assure you I understand that! - though it did take place).

After the family was reunited, the eldest child still played the role of parent.  While it was no longer required, it was difficult to break them of this habit - and to this day, comments and actions sometimes come up that point to that time in their life.  Delicately, the parent needs to remind them of their new role - to remove the pressure from the child as well as support them in being who they are in the new dynamic.

Think of the team you have at work - or the team you are on.  There are roles that each person plays - leader, processor, smart-guy, visionary and more.  Some people play more than one role.  Some people assume roles that don't fit them.  Example:  A very detail-oriented person has a a hard time being the visionary because they get stuck 'in the weeds'.  While we all have tendencies in many areas, by focusing on our strengths, we can offer the most to our team as well as help bring out the best in them.

Finding role fit is important.  If one does not fit, you need to determine what the gap is and fix it.
Fixing it may mean adding to the team or redefining the roles.
At the end, if the 'fix' does not work, it could be more than just the role.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When the Click Happens

A few months ago, I was introduced to Eleni Kelakos by a friend - Diane Reko.  Diane had experienced Eleni's presentation at an event with the Women President's Organization and thought that I could benefit from sharing this connection for work I am doing for a social enterprise in development (more on that later).  Well, we spoke by phone and felt a pretty solid connection - we had similar thoughts on leadership, owning our talents and skills, living big and more.  The connection was strong enough that we made an appointment to meet in person.

This past week, my husband and I drove 45 minutes away to meet the wonderful Eleni - and as we spent time learning each other's stories, you could feel the click in the air.  We started to lay a foundation for a new relationship.

Now I offer you 2 things:

  1. Get to know Eleni and what she has to offer
  2. The Click:  take a moment to reach out and connect 2 people that you know & that may not know each other so that you can feel the click too.

Monday, October 27, 2014

White Knuckle Alignment

How do you know if you are feeling connected to the momentum of your business?  The whirlwind that is driving innovation, collaboration and even cash-flow or cash-drain?

Does it feel like the photo?  Coming at you at a million miles an hour and you have to white-knuckle the chair so that you can stay in role or in position and keep the rudder moving the ship in the right direction?

Connection comes from aligned purpose - you aligned to your business.  Your team aligned to your business.  Both you, your team and your business aligned to your clients.

Creating this alignment can be a challenge.  It is no longer a simple matter of hiring people -  FIT is required.  Solid leaders take time to examine the purpose of their business as well as ensure that the people in the business have the same purpose.  Focusing our team members becomes easier and more difficult at the same time.
Easier: because focus is the same
More Difficult:  because now there are challenges coming from a lot of directions, each person passionate for results
Looking at clients through this lens adds a small complication - no longer are you or your business a fit for everyone, you are becoming selective.  How do you make the move away from fishing in the biggest pool possible, to a narrow stream?  Again, go back to what you do best and why - what is the purpose...if you are specific enough with your mission you are qualifying clients as you go.  In order for your work to be well-received, well-implemented and sustainable it needs to be in the hands of the right client.  They will become your advocate and connect you to more like-purpose clients.

While the white-knuckle ride is exciting & scary at the same time, creating this alignment is the same.  I can assure you though, that it is worth it - you will be doing your best work once aligned.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Clutter in Your Head

This time of year causes lots of things to pile up - what needs to be completed, what has yet to be done, what next year will look like and then....add in family, community and personal agendas and obligations and the CLUTTER mounts!

The inside of your head can look like this - stuff everywhere.  And what do you do to clear it up?

Working with clients, here is something that works pretty well: 

  • take a pause along with a deep breath
  • dump out everything that is in your brain  (aka:  brain dump) on sheets of paper - don't be concerned about the order or if it makes any sense at all, just get it out.
  • next take the brain dump and categorize with colours, or marks or by circling things that match the headings
    • to do now - not negotiable
    • opportunities to look at later
    • for planning next year
    • to do now - nice to do
    • to delegate - I don't need to do this
  • once this is completed, you can wrap your head (now de-cluttered) around the pieces to tackle
Let me know if it works.  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Clear the Air (Waves)

Have you had the experience where there is so much noise in the air that messages get distorted, missed or forgotten?

Have you stopped sharing pertinent information because you think you cannot get you message across because of all the noise in the airwaves of your business or life?

Leaders find ways to clear the air and the airwaves.  Here are a few things you could try to do the same:

  1. create an environment for communication - comfortable space where you can listen, pen & paper or tech tools for note taking
  2. be physically focused on the individual(s) communicating - facing them, listening & taking notes
  3. pay attention to body language - what are the eyes, facial expressions, hands and shoulders saying - slumped, looking away, fidgeting or open, animated and engaging?
  4. leave some silence - let them fill in the time with their words and other thoughts they may have omitted
  5. ask clear questions - the ones that dig into purpose and methodology getting to these ideas, not only the ones that ask about logistics, implementations and next steps.
Try it this week.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tools of the Trade

Sitting on my desk are the tools of my trade.
Yes, they do look different than other tools - yet, that is what makes my process work.

Consider the tools your team members gravitate too - what is it that makes them work best?
How do they interact, keep track, take notes, organize?
Do you support them with the tools they need or the tools you need?

Observation can help you understand just a little bit more about the people who work around you.
Cluttered desk (like mine!); clean stacked piles, nothing on the walls - all a signal of how someone operates and what makes them comfortable.

Today is observation day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

This is How It Works

I love Gaping Void - and the team here has figured out how to connect with their audience in more than one way - read the note that was in my email yesterday.

The team here has taken time to listen and respond with a solution that will satisfy another segment of their audience.

Feeling that email overload? 
​We've been told that ​folks​ love the 20+ cartoons we send out every month, but they don't always have time to ​enjoy​ them all. 
You can now sign up for one simple email, the Weekly Digest, sent out every Saturday -  all the daily cartoons, but without the inbox clutter. 
Sign me up!
I actually sent back a reply stating I would not sign up for the Saturday list because I love the break the emails give me - they make me stop, think & apply (and usually post too!)

So, to deconstruct how this new connection point came to be, it could have looked like this:
  • the daily email program is working .....  could there be more or better out there?
  • someone analyzed the drop off rates from lists or correlated unopened emails to a specific group
  • they may have done some research into why the emails are unopened or people have unsubscribed
  • someone in the org. said figure out what's going on....or someone on the team may have come up with this new solution
  • lastly, they were told to run with it
The objective of this new form of connection will get more subscribers, not less.  More shares, not less.  More purchases, not less.  More buzz, not less (look at me?!)

Do we take time as leaders of our organizations to listen to our audience and allow our teams to develop the solutions?  Do we jump onto the next thing before making sure this one is good?  Have we tested it before moving on?

Once we move on, have we lost everything else that grew us to this point?  If so, then we are a different organization.  Keep the focus, figure out how to connect better.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Get to Know Your Leader

The world is made up of different types of people.  That is what makes it interesting.
We all have different likes, dislikes, attitudes, looks.....and at the end of the day,  we are products of our environments.

Leaders take heed to the differences and at the same time work to connect the diversity so that the best results are the outcome.  The best results for the client, the team and the organization  - not just one-sided results.

Knowing that people are different - that means that each leader is different to.  Do you relate well to the leader on your team?  Have you spent time understanding who they are, why they do what they do, how they got into this role?

We expect the leaders to make this effort - the effort to get to know the team.  Why can't we?  It works in the opposite direction too, doesn't it?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Be You.

Today is my youngest son's birthday - this is a fitting poster.
He is very different from his brother.
He is not afraid to be himself.
He is kind, funny, friendly and completely his own person, loves his family and only wanted his Nonne & Nonno at his birthday dinner.

He has a unique sense of style.  He is cheeky & cool ...and is even trying new things.

This all made me wonder, as I reflected on the life that so far has been his....
Do we take time to recognize the 'you-ness' in others, or are we always waiting for them to conform to us?
Do we celebrate the diversity on our teams, or do we run from it?
Do we challenge ourselves to seek beyond the exterior and view the interior - the heart and the soul?
Do we stop and listen to our team members, and know what they value beyond the day to day?

It's Monday - let's try.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Pivot

In Lean Start-Up-speak, the Pivot  is the change you make along the way to discovering if your business idea will fly from inception as you had thought.

The pivot is a stopping point where you assess and adjust direction.

Take a moment and consider the pivots you have made.
Then ask yourself why you have made them.

Think about the pivots your team has made.
Think about the pivots they should have made earlier & what was stopping them?
Was it you?

As the leader, one of our goals should be to encourage pivots so that the work doesn't stagnate, instead it progresses with solid learning, steady foundation and clear innovation.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dare to BE, Differently

Are you courageous enough to abandon  a practice that made you successful in the past?
Are you ready to dare to BE?
Are you ready to BE differently than before?

Taking time out to assess what worked in the past, and evaluate if it will help or hinder us for the present and future is key to taking risks.
Dare to BE - differently.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

If Only It Was This Easy

If only it was this easy to give feedback.
Push the button and the receiver know if you are happy, ok or not content.

How you give feedback is critical to so many factors in developing engaged teams of leaders that will move your organization forward.  Heck, for that matter, how we give feedback to our spouses, partners, kids and beyond is just as important.

Think of this when delivering feedback:

  • what is the purpose of the feedback?
    • are you trying to help, grow or change?
  • do you have specific examples that can show the changes the feedback is offering?
    • being clear in articulating feedback with examples of actions as well as alternatives can help provide a better picture of next steps or changes in action
  • are you ready to have a dialog & not just 'dump and run'?
    • providing feedback should lead to an exchange of thoughts and ideas ~ if there is no exchange, then something is missing - start over.
Feedback is the 'breakfast of champions' according to Ken Blanchard - and he is right.  It is not as easy as pushing a button - it can be hard to take, and even harder to act on.  If we do give feedback like the buttons in the image above, clarity, exchange and examples are clearly missing.

Take your time with feedback - don't just push the button.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What is X?

Every day, leaders get going to solve for X.
This is the math that we all hated when initially learning algebra.  What does X mean?  Solve for X.

As a leader, X is truly a variable - it can be different everyday.
The questions we need to learn to ask are numerous.  The most important question we should ask so that we can solve for X is:
what is the problem we are trying to solve?
This is usually not an easy question to answer as it can be very complex.  We need to find enough focus to simplify the question by narrowing down the selection of responses.  This way, solving for X becomes clear.  Clarity is the key to great delegation, excellent productivity, superior results and an engaged and collaborative team.

If everyone know what X is (the problem), then solving it becomes clearer too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Discipline? What's That?

My challenge to myself was to get 100 blogs posted in a row......and I almost missed today!
Simple - I did not follow my usual morning routine - blogging as soon as I can after I get the kids off to school.  Today went another way.

Discipline is hard.  It's more difficult than building a habit - discipline feels like it is a negative activity - that I am forcing myself to do something....just like the poster above states.
I don't like to be forced to do things I don't want to do.....I prefer to build solid habits.

So let's take a moment and pause.
Discipline is now an old word for Habit.

My new habit around blogging in the morning makes me feel good - like I have accomplished something creative for the day.  Now, no matter what the day holds, I know that I got to share a bit of my own thoughts with the world of cyberspace.

Wow - relief.  And thanks!

Monday, October 13, 2014

How Brave Are You?

Relationships of any sort require the ability to put things aside, face rejection and even face your worst fears.

This means going into battle, holding hands, wiping tears and laughing so hard your sides hurt.
Are you ready for this?
Does your team know you are?

Real relationships are forged over time, you cannot flip a switch.  Even blood-bonds don't create relationships - it takes work.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Daily Practice

This is Thanksgiving Weekend in Canada.

Last night we hosted 12 for Thanksgiving Dinner 
- a wonderful celebration with food, drink & chatter.

My mom instituted a practice many years ago.
After saying Grace, we go around the table and each person says one thing they are grateful for this year.  From the youngest to the oldest, each person has one.

I am grateful for the people who have come into my life - for no matter how long they stay, they leave  lessons and love in their wake.  

A daily practice of gratitude - no matter how you do it - makes life enough.

Many blessings to all.