End the Roller Coaster of Business

One thing I have learned over the years in business is there will always be some ups and downs.  Some are small, others more of a roller coaster ride!  When ups and downs happen, as the leader, you know how important it is to stay the course rather than make major changes.

Now, staying the course does not equal no change.  Instead, it involves connecting with your vision, understanding the market place and evaluating your systems.  Are they in alignment?  For example, as we enter summer, business may slow down as more of your customers take holidays and are away from work.  If your customer base is primarily business, the rotating holiday schedule may delay the decision making process, even when a sale appeared imminent just prior.  In this situation, you won’t make drastic changes, but may have to adjust your business operations or attract new clients who are open for business.

Regardless of which approach you choose, it is important to have a clear vision and strong systems in place so you can make subtle shifts effectively.  Recently I have experienced a series of ups and downs in my business.

The Spark in all of this was a major setback when a client backed out at the last minute.  Do you Is your biz on a roller coaster-Is it (2)believe in coincidences?  As I write this post, I have a smile on my face… realizing that coincidences do happen!  When one door shuts another opens.  You just have to be looking!

As I mentioned, I was speaking with a potential client who was indecisive on taking next steps. Long story short, we’d been doing the “sell-dance” and ended when they decided not to move forward on their project.  They loved what I could bring to the table and wanted to work with me because they could clearly see where I could lead the transitions they want to make … yet they decided to put everything on hold.

Ok, I must admit that this is not the first time I’ve experienced this same scenario, but it’s still frustrating!  I’m sure you can relate.

When facing this situation, I have found two key questions can help potential clients to make a decision.  “What specifically will motivate you to make a decision?” and “Is money the major obstacle?”

This gentle roller coaster ride resulted in some amazing business opportunities to appear because I was prepared and open for business.  After receiving the news that I wouldn’t be starting this major project, I had to redirect my focus.  Fortunately I had not put all my eggs in one basket and had kept looking, talking and making business proposals.  I also found the process I underwent with that client forced me to really shift my mindset and let go of the result and just go with the flow.

I don’t know which of these items were the positive influence, but I do know that one or all of them worked!   I was offered a new project by a former client which starts shortly, received several referrals, identified two new potential clients and projects where I could really help add value, and I create a new way to grow my business.

Your take away….

1.  Think Big — opportunities abound when you keep your eyes open to possibilities

2.  Stay Positive — one set back or two isn’t enough when you have a strong will to succeed

3.  Be willing to Exert some Effort in the process — we all want instant results but a little elbow grease always helps

4.  Focus on the Future —  Just because one potential client keeps telling you positive responses, until they put money in your hands, they are only a prospect.  Don’t let any other prospects or leads pass you by!

5.  Don’t Give Up! — Persistence, consistency and communicating your value in your prospect/customer’s language is key!

 

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.

When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.

Buddha

 

Does leadership impact results?

One of the best ways to learn about leadership and the impact it can have is to watch others in action.  A great opportunity to see the impact of leadership occurred in during a recent curling brier (Canadian curling championship) in Calgary.

I digress a bit…

If you are not a curling fan, curling is a game of strategy and skill. Very simply, a curling team consists of 5 members – 4 who play plus a spare.  Each team is led by a skip, followed by the 3rd, 2nd and lead.  The coach is not allowed to consult with the team during play unless a timeout is called.  Curling rocks (44 lbs of granite) are pushed along a pebbled sheet of ice into rings at the opposite end (known as the house).  Games consist of either 8 or 10 ends.  Each team tries to get as many rocks in the house closer to the centre (the button) than the other team.   Learn more in this fun 2 minute video from Curling Canada.

Now… back to our discussion on leadership.

During the off season, Team Canada underwent a change at the skip position.  They had added a guy who is best known for playing the 3rd position.  The team had enjoyed some success prior to this Brier, and five games in they had won 2 lost 3.  This was not going to be good enough to win.  After a team meeting, they made the decision to switch the roles of the skip and 3rd.  This change turned the tide, and they went on to win 8 of the next 9 games and retained their reign as Team Canada.  The same 4 men – a completely different trajectory.

So how does this relate to your business?

I do believe leadership has a major impact on the results a business and a team can achieve.  If you are not getting the results you know you should and can be achieving, leadership may be one of the causes.  If you are the leader, sometimes you have face the mirror and what its telling you.

  • Are you motivating and engaging your team?
  • Are you asking for and/or listening to them and considering their insights and feedback?
  • Are you the best person to be the leader?  Is there someone else who could do that job better than you?

It’s a tough situation to face but it can be critical to your success and you may have to put your ego in your back pocket for awhile.  If stepping aside is the right decision, it’s not because you can’t lead.  You may not be the best person in that role at this point in time.  Acknowledging this demonstrates you are a leader – one who is  focused on getting the right people into the right roles for the right job.  Looking at Team Canada, the same four men, in slightly different roles were like night and day.  They stayed focused on the goal (to win the Brier) and the process needed to get there.

 How can you know what is the right decision?

There is no one right answer.  Instead, leadership requires you to gather information and make a decision.  In the case of Team Canada, they worked with their Coach and masterminded together to find the right solution.

You too have those options.  

1)  Working with an Executive Coach can help you identify challenges and then establish alternative to implement to reverse downward trends.  Your Coach can offer support, another perspective, and can help drive the process as you take action and transition yourself and your team.

2) A mastermind group consists of other people like you who are committed to being the best they can be.  During meetings (and between) you are able to ask questions, receive feedback, different perspectives and support.  A good mastermind group is like a board of advisers for you and your business.   (Personal note:  I have belonged to mastermind groups for over 20 years – long before I began leading them – and my masterminds have helped me advance and transition my business in so many wonderful ways).

If you think Executive Coaching or a mastermind group could help you, please book a complimentary Ignite Business Assessment call so we can determine what you need and what next steps are right for you.

I think this quote says it all very well

Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire team-mates and customers.       Robin S. Sharma

 

Happiness Matters

There is much written about the impact of an organization’s culture and employee contentment on productivity and quality.  Entrepreneurs are more successful when they are passionate about what they do.  The long hard hours don’t feel like work when you love what you do.

“Over 40 percent of the companies listed in the top 100 of Fortune magazine’s “America’s Best Companies to Work For” also appear on the Fortune 500.”

As many of my regular followers know, I am an avid Vancouver Canucks fan.  Last year, the team was struggling and it was clear the players were not enjoying the game they love.  The Coach also didn’t seem happy and his frustration erupted at one point in the season, and he was suspended.  Wind the clock forward to today where TV commentators are talking about the changes they are seeing in the Canucks.  They are performing, scoring, and playing more like a team.  Commentators cite the change in coach and the fact that the guys love coming to work as fundamental factors for this change.

What is the atmosphere like in your business?  

Are your employees happy and engaged?  

Do they like coming to work?  

Executive Leadership Coaching has been identified as an effective method for organizations to enhance employee engagement and improve productivity.  The rollover effect is improved customer satisfaction.  Each of these outcomes are good for your bottom line.

Coaching is utilized by organizations to enhance leadership, performance and to develop employee skill.  I have hyena reality| freedigitalphotos.networked with many business owners and managers for this exact purpose.  In each situation, the goals of the organization and those of the individual manager have been explored and directs our time together.

Coaching offers a non-judgmental supportive environment for each manager to grow and stretch.  When we confront challenges, short-comings and strengths, we are also able to focus on solutions and next steps.  This vulnerable point of coaching offers the most growth potential and is essential for shifts to occur. I am always so impressed with the shifts that occur as we work together.   Coaching really does bring out the best in you and builds on your skills and interests and self confidence grows in a positive way.

Contact me to discuss how Ignite Leadership can help you and your organization improve leadership, employee engagement and your organizational culture.

Leadership: More than a Title

Leadership –  the art of effectively guiding people in a common direction to achieve an identified goal.

Every business, large or small, has identified goals and strategies which must be achieved to be successful.   Regardless of what those goals are, or how you define success, or whether you are the owner, executive or manager or a front-line employee your leadership skill is a critical component if you want to guide people you work with toward a specific goal.

Interestingly enough, just because a person is in a leadership position within an organization doesn’t mean they are a good or effective leader.  Alternatively, just because an employee isn’t a manager doesn’t mean they lack leadership abilities, or are unable to Leadership ID-100256080 (2)have a significant impact on the success of your business to achieve it’s goals.

Every good leader has the unique ability to connect with others and can influence their thinking and actions in a way that they become engaged in working toward a specific goal.  There are numerous ways a leader can connect and guide

1.   Leaders Use Skill and Knowledge

Leaders have unique skills in interacting with people.  We often think of leaders as people who have years of experience.  Not every effective leader has a lifetime of experience under their belt.  Some great leaders are young and inexperienced in their field yet have significant skills at moving people from point a to point b.

2.  Leaders are Accountable

When you accept a leadership role, you also accept the accountability of achieving the specific outcome.  Leaders don’t work in isolation, instead they work with a team to get the work accomplished.  Every member of the team has a role, duties and accountabilities, but the ultimate accountability rests with the leader.

When members of the team fail to perform, the leader is responsible for identifying and resolving the challenge.  This may result from a poor fit between the job requirements and the skill of the employee, a lack of understanding by team members on how each role fits in the big picture, a absence of the right tools (or information) to get the job done right.  Once the problem is identified, the leader will execute the solution.

 3.  Leaders Lead by Example

A common statement but not always followed by many business “leaders”.  Too often, I observe people in managerial or executive positions setting expectations and outcomes for employees and while they fail to follow these same expectations and outcomes.  Leading by example means you are as engaged and committed to the successful outcome as you want your team to be.  You follow-through, you remain visible and recognize success and challenges and offer feedback, encouragement and contribute ideas.

What does leadership mean to you?

What’s in Store?

happy_new_year_2013_06According to the Chinese zodiac, the “Year of the Water Snake”, offers some unique advantages to businesses as well as individuals not found in other years.   A recent article in Entrepreneur.com, entitled “What the Year of the Snake Could Mean for Your Business”, author Stephanie Vozza provides an overview.

In her article, Vozza indicates the Year of the Snake is a desirable year.  Vossa quotes author, Marina Lighthouse who states, “This isn’t the time to do anything rash,” says Lighthouse. “Move forward steadily and smoothly. Work hard and keep an even pace to succeed. It’s a year of steady progress; discipline and attention to details will help you achieve goals.”

Good Advice

Whether you believe in the Chinese astrology predictions, the advice for businesses is very good, particularly if you are starting a new business venture, company or product.  Taking advantage of opportunities can be successful when you keep your eyes wide open and create an action plan to support each goal or project.

An action plan will ensure that you stay focused on the changes you wish to achieve, or the outcomes you are striving for.  A strong and effective action plan allows you to move forward steadily and smoothly – enabling you to be more efficient, productive and to better utilize resources.

A good action plan will include the three C’s

1.    Complete   — When your action plan includes all of the steps that are required for each goal, it is easier for you to stay focused, measure your progress and celebrate key milestones.

2.  Clear — A clear action plan indicates what steps are taken, who is accountable for that action and what resources are needed.

3.  Concise —  A strong action plan will reflect the current situation as well as what you could face in the future — opportunities and obstacles.

 It’s not Static

Remember, an action plan is a living breathing document.   Don’t lock it away in a drawer or filing cabinet.  Instead, post it in a visible location so you stay connected to it every day.   Discipline is achieved by regularly reviewing and adjusting your plan and ensure you pay attention to details that are necessary for success.

 

Check out our Business Leadership Journal or Online Goal Strategy Success Program  — designed to help you set goals, create action plans, and monitor and  tweak them as you move forward.  The outcome — You Achieve Your Goals, Improve Productivity and Enjoy the Successes you previously just dreamed about!

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