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3 Reasons to Write it Down Before Action

March 18, 2013 Comments off

pencilLast week was full of surprises.  Teams converged to address a very sticky, emotional and difficult issue.  No surprise, it also involved money, faulty decisions and blame all around. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Due to the complexity of the issues involved, I decided to try to create a factual summary of the past and what led up to the present situation. I presented the timeline to all parties to help us all recast the sequence of events. By trying to remove emotion and script only facts along a timeline, we realized, like a lot of difficult decisions, many people and situations conspired consciously or unconsciously to bring us to where we were.  Reducing the facts to a timeline and having everyone agree on what happened quickly allowed us to move forward with the present challenge.  So, write it down, use the facts and you can gain:

1. Clarity

2. Perspective and

3. Build a reasonable plan going forward

The exercise allowed me to also see there was error with “my team” and “their team” – and once we took responsibility, it opened the door to collectively take responsibility and work together on solving what got us there.  We focused on the problem, not the people.  Try it sometime.

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Be Thankful for your 2012/2013 Challenges!

November 20, 2012 Comments off

Lift-off of the Dnepr launch vehicle

It’s Thanksgiving week.  In addition to faith, friends, family, and health, I am grateful I started this blog habit.  I have been introduced to a variety of interesting people and I am thankful for my regular readers and creative exchanges that have resulted.

Today, Dr. Michael Joyner posted his case for optimism about the future.  In it he lists the following challenges from 1968/1969 that, at the time we thought were “unsolvable”

  • The Berlin Wall.
  • The Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia to suppress a movement calling for minimal levels of free expression.
  • George Wallace, an avowed racist, ran for President and got 13.5% percent of the vote.
  • Career choices available to women were extremely limited, and opportunities for women and girls to participate in things like competitive sports were minimal.
  • Rivers like the Cuyahoga near Cleveland were so polluted they sometimes caught on fire.
  • China and India were economic basket cases.
  • North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam during Tet.
  • Places like Tucson (where I grew up) were surrounded by intercontinental ballistic missile silos.  Air raid sirens were tested at regular intervals in case we needed to be warned of an impending nuclear attack.
  • The Red Sox had still not won the World Series after trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1918 – the so-called Curse of the Bambino.

So, as we look at next year in building our strategic plans or think about the world our children will live in the future, we might want to put our challenges in perspective of human progress.  It might be time to express gratitude and next week, let’s find something big to solve!

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Passionate Certainty – Do you Live it?

October 8, 2012 Comments off

Two weeks ago I posted on “coming alive” – stating that finding your passion and living it is one of the key ingredients needed for you, and really, for yourself and everyone around you.  Related to this is one of my critical beliefs.  Passionate certainty – the belief you can achieve your dream by putting it into action.

In a business environment, we voluntarily submit ourselves to work and a career over many years and hours. Actually, more than we will spend with our families or with ourselves. So, part of this decision is to ensure you are passionate about what you are doing (do you know?) and with that passion, are you certain of your success in that role. With entrepreneurial companies, it is key you have both.

Three critical beliefs of pursuit are the subject of the next few posts.  I hope they help stimulate thought for a productive future!  By the way, after writing this, I found a great article similar to my thought process attached.

Romantic Heart form Love Seeds

Romantic Heart form Love Seeds (Photo credit: epSos.de)

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Leading People to Come Alive

September 24, 2012 Comments off

Wisdom comes from the most unique and sometimes unexpected places.  My children attend a college preparatory school, and the chaplain, Fr. Patrick Funston, posted some of the following thoughts on his blog after his Wednesday chapel service.

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

“Howard Thurman was a very early civil rights leader, a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Among his most notable accomplishments was the 22 years he spent as Dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University starting in 1953.  He was the first African American to be named a tenured Chapel Dean at a mostly white school.”


“Fr. Fun” as the students like to call him, went on to say: “Passion begets interest.  Interest beget change.  People are much more likely to care about what we are doing when we are interested in it ourselves.”

His message was directed at the students in their daily and community service activities, but I also read it as another reminder of how we can effectively lead and manage our people.  Do you have a team that has “come alive” Have YOU “come alive”? If not, what are you doing about it?

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It’s Not About Perfect, It’s About Progress

September 12, 2012 Comments off

I just returned from one of my most enjoyable roles with the PIPELINE Entrepreneurs organization (By the way, they are accepting applications for a new class – see pipelineentrepreneurs.com).  I work with these high growth business owners to help them communicate their business concept – in plain English – and set and achieve milestones for their business. I encourage them to set goals for their team and themselves that make meaningful progress toward their success.

It seems we sometimes reach a conundrum when we work toward these objectives.  Either we are paralyzed by the size of the task in front of us – and therefore can’t break a big goal into small tasks, OR we get overly focused on the details of the goal – attempting to make it a perfect measurable task to move you closer to your objective.  In either case, I am a proponent of simple progress.  Figure out a way to move in the general direction of your objective and refine your goals along the way.  You just don’t know, unless you get started.  Indeed, it is about progress, not perfect.  Let’s get moving!

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The Top 4 (Inbound) Marketing Techniques

August 29, 2012 Comments off

leads

The top 4 marketing tactics that convert leads, according to Sales Benchmark Index are:

1. SEO

2. Direct Traffic

3. Referrals (OK, not an inbound conversion, but important)

4. Blogging

Of course, direct traffic could result from other techniques, like Outbound E mail and/or Trade Shows & Events, etc., but I think the take-away is investment and return.  It’s interesting to see companies roll their eyes when getting a quote for a better website that is optimized for SEO and then see them spend many times that much to travel to a trade show.  It might benefit the company to look at cost per lead once in a while to ensure marketing dollars are properly invested for the highest return.

I wonder if there’s a similar cost/benefit analysis that can be done on elections?

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The 12 “Most Convincing Words” – That Probably Aren’t

August 21, 2012 Comments off
English: The logo is from the http://www.yale....

English: The logo is from the http://www.yale.edu/printer/identity/logos.html website.Yale University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was ready to publish my blog yesterday when I decided to find the actual source quoted by a writer who stated a Yale University study compiled the 12 most convincing words in the English language – and suggested they become a priority in my presentation vocabulary.  What I discovered was an oft quoted urban legend summarized at this link on signs.com.  This “research” which does not exist has lasted in the published domain for more than 30 years (that predates the commercial Internet!).  Be careful when relying on information to run your life and your business.  Make sure the research is real!

FYI, here are the oft quoted “most convincing words”…you, money, save, new, results, health, easy, safety, love, discovery, proven and guarantee.

If you want descriptive terms, read:
From Earphones to Cars – how to write a product description that sells
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