One Bad Apple – Can One Person Imact Team Success?

Can one person impact the dynamics of a team? Absolutely!

“Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” –Vince Lombardi

We only have to look at our work environments or sports teams for examples.

Recently, the Montreal Canadiens traded P.J. Subban for Shae Webber which shocked many fans.  P.J. was a key part of the Montreal hockey team, very active in the community and a fan favourite.  Why would they trade away a key resource?  Some say the downturn in the teams performance on the ice wasn’t related to the loss of the goalie. Instead it was reflective of strained dynamics in the locker room.  Webber brings a leadership component which is needed to ensure this decline in performance doesn’t happen again.

Another example is here in B.C. with our football team, the B.C. Lions.  For the past two years we had two new head coaches and results were a complete reversal of prior performance.  This year, former head coach and GM, Wally Buono returned to the sidelines and its like watching a different team.  Reports are Buono treats every player the same- whether they are a rookie or a veteran.  He also has the same expectations — come to practice and games prepared to work and give it their best effort.

Although these are sports examples, the same occurs in business.  A negative nellie can ruin a motivated and productive team.  A leader who lacks trust in their team can lose the respect of team members and morale will drop, leading to turnover, poor productivity, conflict and more.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” –Andrew Carnegie

Here are three ways you can ensure that one bad apple doesn’t ruin your team’s efforts.

  1.  Create a positive culture with a strong vision, mission and purpose.    If a team lacks focus or understanding of their role and what’s expected of them, they will flounder.  Each member of a team needs to have a role and understand how their role is part of the whole.  The team leader may not always be the manager or coach.  Sometimes it will be a member of the team who will have the most impact on ensuring everyone stays on track.   No matter who or why the team isn’t on track, we do know that a team that attracts the very best and deals with negative nellies before they do damage.
  2. Take action fast when ‘negative nellie’ shows up!  If a team member is not embracing the roles and behaviours acceptable to the team, its important to step in and address it quickly.  Feedback is one of the most effective ways to address negativity or a lack of engagement.  A conversation with the team member is vital for them to recognize the impact of their behaviour or actions on the entire team, and to identify a solution to the issue.  Sometimes the ‘negative nellie’ has to be removed from the team so that other members can achieve their best.
  3. Recognize differences and outcomes.   Every team is made up of different personalities and people with different perspectives.  It is this diversity that adds to the strength of the team, much like a mastermind.  Together the team is stronger when all perspective are brought together to create a new solution.   As a team lead, your role is to ensure everyone has an opportunity to contribute.  Some will prefer to be more visible than others.  Recognize the contributions of each member (not just those who are more vocal or visible) and celebrate positive outcomes or positive learnings from mistakes.

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”   — Phil Jackson

Team dynamics are a key factor in achieving a successful outcome.  Don’t let one person stop the team from pulling the whole team down!  Whether you are the team lead or a team member, you have a role to play — be the difference maker!

 

Does your team experience challenges?  We have a number of solutions that can assist you.  Contact us to explore how our solutions may benefit your and your team and boost results.

Green Your Horizons – 3 Steps to a Better Business

Greening your horizons doesn’t mean becoming a ‘tree-hugger’ or anti-establishment.  In fact, I believe that incorporating a MoreThanGreen™ approach to your business gives your business heart and will “do-good”.  You will have a better business and better customers and more profits to do more good!

What is business with heart? 

In today’s business world, a self-centred focus on your own profitability is not enough to be truly successful and to have longevity. Businesses must remove their blinders to create and maintain a positive impact on their own employees, the community they live and work in, and on the environment.

A for-profit-businesses is traditionally, and continues to be focused on wealth building.  In addition, today’s Comtemplation Reap Action ILIprogressive and most successful businesses also now recognize that wealth sharing is a critical facet that cannot be ignored. Giving back to the community and reducing their impact on the environment are a necessity if they want to engage and retain top talent, attract loyal customers and build strong relationships with community members.

A business with heart considers all facets on the triple bottom line – people (employees, the community, clients), planet (environmental impact) and profits. They strive to create economic value while also creating social or environmental value at the same time. Each factor is important in all decisions and actions are transparent and well documented. Corporate philanthropy is as important as profit-making components of any business.

What Steps Can You Take?

1. Integrate your Values

Are you clear on your own personal values?  Do your values and those of your organization align with those of your employees / team members? Are employees clear on what the business’ values? If not, this is the place to start! If values are not clear and in alignment, there will be challenges – a true misfit!

One of my top values is education. This has become an integral focus of my business endeavours, my own professional development and is part of my charitable focus. This alignment creates a strong link between the three and allows me to maintain a strong focus. It also sends a clear message to my team, colleagues and clients of what is important.

2. Set SMART goals.

Setting goals should be a routine activity for every business, department and leader.  As you know, goals should be SMART (Specific, Measureable, Actionable, Realistic and Time Specific).  One area where new goals for business can be set are philanthropic goals.  Many organizations claim to “do good” but they fail to have clear and measurable goals in this area.. In my business, I have set a goal to donate a minimum of 1% of gross sales to charities that align with my values.  Learn more on my efforts on my website

Can you measure the impact of your social and environmental efforts? Are your efforts transparent so others can clearly recognize that you do what you say? If not, it is important to establish a method to both measure and report on actions taken and results achieved. Be specific. Rather than state “a portion of profits,” state a specific amount of total revenue ie: 1% of gross sales, or $2.00 of each book. These numbers cannot be manipulated or branded as a “green-wash.”

3. Engage Others

Getting employees at all levels engaged with your business goals and endeavours is a critical component.  Are your philanthropic goals resonating with members of your team and with your customers? Are your efforts more than lip service to a cause? How do you demonstrate this commitment? Employees are more motivated to help you to achieve your goals if they are part of the process. Do you support their desire to volunteer for causes important to them?

Many large corporations are now encouraging their employees to volunteer in the communities where they live and work. They support these efforts by allowing time off from work and/or providing financial, marketing or physical resources such as equipment. Millennials and Generation Y’s now expect this involvement from employers. Failing to integrate and involve them in social enterprise efforts means they will look elsewhere for employment. If you want to attract and retain top talent, engagement is critical.

Isn’t it time for you to seriously add heart to your business and green your horizons? Your community, the environment and your bottom line will thank you!

Start a Conversation – Gain More than You Expect

When was the last time you had a good conversation with a colleague or a team member?  Did this conversation result in new insights?  Did you learn something new?  Did it up-lift you or provide valuable information?

Fancy action plans don’t create engagement; ongoing two-way dialogue creates engagement.


A conversation is described as an informal exchange of information between two or more talk bubblespeople.  A conversation involves two aspects — sharing information and listening.  Too often listening, I mean really listening so you hear what is actually being said to you, is lost.  Communicating by email, text or notices shares information but lacks the engagement and “hearing” components of a conversation.

 

Nothing managers talk about will affect engagement if they don’t listen to what associates tell them.


According to Gallop, “Great managers who have meaningful ongoing discussions with their employees also take ongoing action based on what they hear in those everyday conversations. They ask good questions, including disarmingly simple ones, and they pay close attention to the responses. They keep the wheels of engagement turning all the time, just by talking.”

In my role as a Consultant I have the opportunity of observing the interactions of many different people in the workplace.  I also see and work with the impact of poor communication and the lack of meaningful conversations.

 

When you make eye contact you acknowledge the other person’s existence


Make Eye Contact

What does eye contact have to do with conversations?  You can’t connect and initiate a conversation if you don’t see and acknowledge a person.  How many times have you walked down a hallway at work and not made eye contact, smiled at or acknowledged the other person?

eye_blue-eye-pic54When I am working with clients who are disillusioned with their job or their workplace, they frequently say they don’t feel valued.  Many also tell me “the boss just ignores me unless I’ve done something wrong.”  Others report they don’t feel heard because their boss doesn’t make eye contact, but looks at paper on their desk or their computer screen.

Eye contact during a conversation can be difficult for some people but it is vital for effective communication.  People are more willing to talk to you when you make eye contact and you are more likely to hear them too.

Your challenge… When you get to work make a point of making eye contact and saying good morning to every member of your team.  Make a point to acknowledge each person you pass in the hallway or who gets on the elevator… see what happens.

 

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller

Huddle Up


One way to build engagement with employees and to connect with what is happening around you is to have daily huddles.  A huddle is an opportunity for you to connect with your team and to plan your day or gain insights. Huddles are short (less than 15 minutes) and to the point.  They are not for problem solving or lon

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www.freedigitalimages.net

g-term planning. Huddles are probably one of the most effective interactions you can have with your team.

A huddle isn’t just a “report out”.  Instead, its an opportunity for every member of the team to share information, insights and to ask questions to help them move forward.  You’ll build connections, improve organizational productivity, enhance the culture and keep your finger on the pulse.

I also have used huddles to connect individually with team members during the day.  I’ve used these exchanges to touch base, learn more about employees and share.  These meetings don’t have an agenda other than to connect but I’ve shared positive feedback, asked questions about a challenge I’m aware of or to check on progress and to offer my assistance.

Your Challenge — Connect with every team member in your team and have a conversation.

 

Learning without thought is labor lost. ~Confucius

Boost Learning


learn-key
One of the best opportunities a manager has to positively impact their organization’s learning and to lead change is to teach.  I don’t mean in a classroom style, but through a conversation.  Traditionally, when people attend a workshop or conference they become excited about new information or insights they have learned but this goes by the wayside when they return to their desk.  Why?  There is no mandate to integrate it into their job.

After an employee attends a conference, have a conversation to identify what their key insights were and if there is something they would like to integrate into their work?  Can you help them set up a personal challenge to instill an action plan into their work?  Book follow-up conversations to monitor progress.

Do you provide in-house training sessions?  Coaching has helped organizations to support employees to actually implement skills they have learned into their daily work habits.  Daily conversations can also help improve employee engagement on skill integration as well.

Your challenge —  Establish regular conversations with each member of your team as a way to integrate learning into their daily work habits.

 

You don’t understand anything until you learn it more than one way. ~Marvin Minsky

 

If you are interested in how to integrate daily conversations into your workplace to improve employee engagement, learning or productivity, contact us for more information on the options we have available to assist you.

Luck Has Nothing to Do with It

With St. Patrick’s Day upon us, the concept of luck and how people associate it with success in business got me thinking.

How many times have you heard a successful business leader say their success is “just luck”?  They may feel as though they were in the right place at the right time, or an opportunity just came their way.   Anyone who has achieved their own business or career success knows there is no such thing as an overnight sensation!  Success doesn’t just fall in your lap.  You have work to do to prepare yourself.

In an Inc Magazine article, author, Eric Holtzclaw, said

To claim that you are just “lucky” is
a disservice to those considering following an entrepreneurial path.
If success is just based on luck,
then small business owners have no control over their eventual success
and “being unlucky” becomes
an excuse for failure or choosing never to start.”

Richard Branson shares a similar, yet different view.  In fact, Branson says “people and businesses that are generally considered fortunate or luckier than others are usually also the ones that are prepared to take the greatest risks and, by association, are also prepared to fall flat on their faces every so often.”  He goes on to say “You can’t get lucky if you’re playing it safe.”

Luck ispreparationmeetingOpportunityI know I don’t attribute career or business success to luck.  In fact, I believe that luck is the result of making decisions and taking action!

One client I worked with started her path to change by making the decision to seek external help.  I was the person she decided to work with during the transition phase.  These two steps, decision and action, lead her to identify gaps in her team which she addressed, systems that were not working for the team or for her business, and clarified the results she wanted to achieve.  Our collaboration resulted in set expectations for client interactions by each team member, development of tools and resources to assist in improving client retention and to boost sales.  This didn’t happen overnight, and at the end, she indicated she “felt lucky that I came along to help turn things around”.  Her determination, hard work and a willingness to make tough decisions and take action lead to her new success, I was just there to help her remain accountable to herself and her goals.

In the well known book, Good to Great, Jim Collins shares his insights on luck.  He says luck is part of pattern he coins “the window and the mirror“.  He explains Level 5 leaders (individuals who let go of their ego and self-interest while being very ambitious and focused on their organization), will

look out of the window to apportion credit to factors outside themselves when things go well (and if they cannot find a specific person or event to give credit to, they credit good luck).  At the same time they look in the mirror to apportion responsibility, never blaming bad luck when things go poorly.

If you want to enjoy your own luck, now or in the future,

  • recognize what you have accomplished to date and
  • recognize the steps you must take to prepare yourself to be ready to capitalize on opportunities that present thomas-jefferson-luck-wallpapers_18165_1024x768themselves to you.
  • build a good network of like minded people, such as a mastermind group, to keep you focused and moving forward.
  • consider working with a Coach to raise the bar and
  • be willing to take risks and stretch out of your comfort zone!

Are you ready to take action?  

Book your complimentary Ignite Call to explore how we can help you to build your own luck!

How We’re Making a Difference

It’s our year-end and as part of our “MoreThanGreen“™ program, we are proud to share how our 2016 donations are making a difference this year.

We contribute at least 1% of gross revenues to charities.  Learn more about our efforts by visiting our sustainability page

Our donation to Canadian Athletes Now Fund will benefit two athletes in their bid for the 2016 Olympics.  As a self-proclaimed Olympaholic, I am thrilled to share this information on these two talented people.  I know I’ll be cheering8944 CanFund COL Logo FR FA.ai them on in Rio this summer!

Adam Froese – Field Hockey

From Abbotsford British Columbia, Adam made his National team debut in 2009 and has quickly developed into one of Canada’s top defenders.  He has appeared in over 120 international games including representing Canada at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games and most recently the 2015 Pan Am Games where Adam and his teammates won silver.  At the 2015 Pan Am Games Adam scored the 5th goal for Canada in the semi-final shootout which also clinched an Olympic berth for Canada to the Rio 2016 Games.  Rio would mark Adam’s first Olympic Games where the squad is looking for a top performance in 2016.

Magali Harvey – Rugby 7s

From Quebec City, Magali has exploded onto the international scene becoming one of Canada’s top offensive players since making her 7s debut in 2011.  She has also represented Canada in the 15s at the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup where she most notably was named the 2014 IRB Women’s Rugby Player of the Year after leading her team to a silver medal and finishing the tournament tied for second with 61 points.  At the most recent 2015 Pan Am Games Magali and her teammates won gold in the 7’s and Magali finished tied for first in tournament scoring.  The Canadian Women’s Rugby 7s team has qualified for Rio 2016 where rugby is making its Olympic debut.  They are currently ranked second in the world so are training hard with their sights set on the podium in Rio.

 

Our donation to SoldierOn will help assist them in their aim of supporting ill and injurBanner-1_E-aug-13ed military personnel with a permanent or chronic disability, both still serving and retired, and their families to attain an active and healthy lifestyle. Our donation helps support these personnel in increasing their independence, in developing new skills, in achieving goals and opening the door to other life opportunities. It furnishes an opportunity for them to socialize and explore common interests, and share learning experiences.

 

kidsport logo

Our donation to KidSportbc will help children to become involved in sports when they otherwise wouldn’t be able.  When kids are involved with sport, they learn leadership, teamworkhave , fun grow great friendships and stay healthy.  “So ALL Kids can Play!”  What could be better than that?

 

 

And our donation to the Alzheimer’s Society will help find a cure for this devastating disease that affects adults of all ages.   In fact, I was surprised to learn that more than 70,000 British Columbians have Alzheimer’s disease or alzheimers_bcanother form of dementia. And the numbers are increasing as younger people are being impacted and baby boomers are aging. Every year 15,000 British Columbians are developing dementia.   We are happy to help find a cure and offer education and treatment options to these adults through the Alzheimer’s Society efforts.

 

We want to thank our clients who have supported us in the past fiscal year, so that we could support these worthy causes.

 

Tap Your Introverted Side in Change

As a strong introvert, and a Coach and Consultant frequently asked to work with leaders (both introverts, ambiverts and extroverts), taking time to plan  and leading change while instilling calm comes as second nature.  I have also learned that my introverted clients are more likely to take action rather than step back when chaos hits.   But, before you tell me this isn’t true for all extroverts, I agree.  It’s just they manage chaos and change differently!

Have you noticed that when you are in the midst of change you feel like you are in chaos, even when things are going Ask an Introvertas planned? I know I do. When my clients are experiencing change in their careers or businesses, they frequently want to place things on hold so they can catch their breath. More often than not I help them see that it is better to live in the chaos and push forward than to stall their progress.

Change is hard and I think its only human to resist rapid change that pushes you into overwhelm.  I also believe it’s normal for things to feel somewhat chaotic when you are making progress.  As you learn new things, change routines, you have to stop and think.  Each change pushes you out of your comfort zone and may feel like you have lost control.

The key to managing this ‘lack of control’ or ‘chaos’ is to have a good plan in place.  Introverts often step away, even if only for a short time, to have quiet time to contemplate and consider the situation and next steps.  They can be very decisive yet thrive with a moment of quiet.  Extroverts frequently have a tendency to jump in an take action immediately.  This may come at the expense the longer term plan.

The plan will help you know when you are on course or detouring. When you ensure  your plan has key milestones included — times when specific items will be completed or are transferred to someone else to complete. These milestones allow you to recognize progress. They will also enable you to “weather the storm” when everything seems to be off-kilter.

Remember, review your plan. Tweak it regularly as new information comes to light and keep on marching forward. Before you know it, things will get back to normal and you will get back into your ‘normal grove’.

Regardless of your leadership style or personality traits, when in the midst of change, it is important to find an approach that allows you to continue to lead, go with the flow and instill calmness with your team, accept the uncertainties that you may feel, work your plan and celebrate your successes. You will be glad you did!

 

“So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multi-tasking, stick to your guns. Being relatively unmoved by rewards gives you the incalculable power to go your own way.”

 Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Contemplation to Action

Comtemplation Reap Action ILI

 

What are you contemplating that can result into a great harvest if you just take action?   

Can we help you make that shift?  A Strategy Huddle is a day dedicated to your goals and creating an action plan you can implement right away!   Let us partner with you to Ignite Results!    Book your Ignition Session to see if a Strategic Huddle  is right for you?

Powerhouse Team

During an episode of “The Property Brothers at Home”, the twins were discussing a project they were working on.  Each had ideas they wanted to include in the project – almost polar opposites.  During the show they were bantering back and forth and a new (and better) idea surfaced that they both liked.  Interestingly enough, they commented about how they frequently bring different perspectives forward and through their discussions land on an even better solution than they would have arrived at individually.

This is a very simplistic example of how two (or more) minds coming together usually come up with better solutions brain ideas pd 11575587_sthan would occur individually.

Is a group always better?

When a team within an organization come together, they too can mastermind to enhance the decisions and solutions.  Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen.  In most work situations, people attending a meeting have different levels of authority.  If the meeting is not structured to encourage the sharing of ideas and perspectives regardless of position (rank), then employees will most likely refrain from speaking up when they hMeeting Teamave a different perspective or idea than their boss.

Another phenomenon that happens in many groups occurs where complacency reigns.  Group Think occurs when everyone on the team begins to think alike.  The status quo is embraced and innovation and varied perspectives are fail to be embraced and encouraged.

Challenge the Status Quo

As a leader of a business, division or committee, creating and sustaining an effective group is important if you want to have a positive impact.  To help prevent group think in your team, always be willing to challenge what seems obvious.  When you challenge teams, they will be more creative and innovative and new and more successful solutions can result.

My recommendation is to always ask Why.  Not just once, but many times throughout the process.  This one simple word can invoke a wide variety of thoughts, ideas, and new solutions.

Case Study

I was working with a client, who I’ll name Joe.  He had a team of managers who worked well together but results from the management team were not helping them keep pace with competitors.  When we looked at past decisions and outcomes, a pattern became apparent.  Most of the decisions were introduced by one manager, and after a short discussion, minor adjustments, that solution was implemented.  It was quick, easy and painless.  What they learned is that it wasn’t the right approach.

Our solution was to create a structure which would guide the decision making process so that they would compete more effectively and grow their business.  This decision making process included brainstorming, risk assessment, resource evaluation, and a beta test before final launch.  Through the beta test they can ask what is working, what is not and most importantly why!  The answers fueled their future discussions and decisions and led to more innovation and better profits.

Working Alone or Looking for More Diverse Perspectives?

Small and medium business leaders often have a small leadership team.  Their ability to ask for feedback, gather different perspectives or garner support (cause it can be lonely at the top) is limited.

Arrow up ID-10022718So… a mastermind (peer-mentoring) group can be the solution!  Why!  You become part of a unique group of motivated, goal oriented, successful business leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs who, like you, are focused on being a good leader, better business person and make better decisions that ignite results, engage employees, grow business and helps them professionally and personally.

A Mastermind Group offers all participants unprecedented opportunities to lead change, grow business and become a stronger leader and a confident person.   Learn more about our Achieve More! Mastermind   Sign up today to reserve your spot!  The Group is limited to 10 participants.

 

Is Avoiding the Pain Worth Foregoing Success?

Did you know that 50% of people who start an exercise program drop out within 6 months?  That statistic is high, but it is similar in other areas of our lives too, including goal attainment!  To me that is sad.  50% of people never attain their goals!  Why?

Well there are many reasons… too many to discuss here.  Some never set concrete goals — this way they don’t get let down.  Drifting through life may seem like a great idea but you’ll stay where you are or fall behind!  Some people don’t write down their goals so they are unable to stay focused on what needs to be done to achieve the goal.  As the saying goes…”failing to plan is planning to fail”.

Here are a few more key obstacles you may face in reaching your goals and some questions to ask yourself and actions to take so you become the 50% who do attain their goals!

1.  Change is challenging!

Yes, change is challenging.  Change causes temporary pain… and who wants pain?  Isn’t life challenging enough without adding new challenges?  Having said that, if you want different results you have to implement different tactics or use different processes.  Change forces you outside your comfort zone. You cannot operate on autopilot and you have to make time.

We are now in the middle of February.  Did you set goals for 2012 in January?  Are you still working the plan to achieve those goals or have they slipped to the side so you can deal with “today”.  If you pushed them aside, do you have a plan to bring them back to the forefront so they become integrated with your business or career?  If not, why?  What are you avoiding?  Why are these goals taking a back seat to putting out today’s fires?  Will these goals, if accomplished, solve the types of challenges you are facing today?

As challenging as it is, change is necessary for you to grow and develop so you make your goals and dreams your new reality.  No one said life (or business) was easy.  No one said you have to do it alone either.   Can your team assist you?  Would journalling help keep you on track?  Would a coach or mastermind group provide the insights and support needed when times are tough?

2. Want great results with little effort!

How many times have you wished you could have the goal without doing the work?  I know every time I am doing my fitness routine I wish the inches and weight would just melt away so I didn’t have to work so hard.    Determination, persistence and effort are all needed for change.  Great results occur when we change our thinking, our actions or our effort!  Nothing comes for free!

Consider this:  You have a goal  that you’re passionate about.  It’s a goal you really want to achieve, but there are critical steps along the way that you don’t like doing (or maybe you just don’t know how to do them).  This is normal if you are stretching into new areas.  Yet, you consciously or sub-consciously procrastinate or just don’t take action.

This is where the perceived pain of these critical steps (no matter how large or small they may be in reality) become a huge barrier to your progress.  When you exert a little effort to shift your mindset from negative to positive, why does it always seem less onerous than you thought?.  How is it, when you shift your thinking, you can identify new opportunities or approaches to reduce the pain!.  As Nike says, Just Do It!  If you don’t want to do these critical steps, can they be delegated, outsourced, or incorporated into other tasks to save money and time?

3.  Time

The biggest excuse in the book… I have no time!  I know, we all feel like that at times but there are ways to overcome this obstacle too.  Why is it some people are so much more productive and successful in the same 24 hours you have?  What are they doing different that would allow you to achieve the same results?

Creating efficient and effective processes is one way to achieve more in less time.  Are routine tasks being done in a way that helps you move forward, grow or save time or money?  Time is money!

Things can get out of hand when people fail to create new habits.  Habits take persistence and consistency.  There is no “success pill”.   If you fall off the horse… get back up and keep riding.  The same holds true for your goals.  If you stray, reposition yourself and get back on track (even if its a new direction) that will lead you to success!

My challenge to you…. go back and revisit those strategic goalsBreak them down into bite-sized goals and schedule time into your calendar each week   Value Yourself!!  Reach out for help and support from others to keep you focused on the big picture, particularly

Only you can ignite the process so the SPARK allows you to GROW and LEAD.

Take action today.  Book your complimentary business assessment session to identify key steps to add SPARK to your career or business.

(originally shared Feb. 2012)

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

 

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