when was the last time you experienced that?

When was the last time you experienced that?

Every now and then, tile showers need to be sealed and have grout issues addressed. It’s that time. That meant showering in my guest bath. Instead of the roomy, tiled shower with glass doors, the guest bath is the standard fiberglass tub/shower with a shower curtain that blows into you. Yikes! What a different experience. And one I had forgotten because it had been so long.

Leadership can be the same way. We forget how tedious doing some jobs can be. Or how the experience with customers and co-workers changes along the way. It’s worth periodically going back to that experience to understand what people across the organization experience every day.

Showing up

Showing up

When I first moved to my new house, a newspaper showed up once a week. I was so busy at the time, I never opened it. A decade later, the paper was still showing up and I finally got a chance to open it and read it. What a delight. It highlights life and activities in town, has serious coverage of business and governmental affairs, and a robust dialogue in the letters to the editor section. And it is funded entirely by donations and ads. Every week it shows up and offers value.

There’s something to be said for showing up. People are busy or distracted and it might take a bit to get noticed. But it will happen if you keep showing up.

success

Strategic Positioning

My dog has an uncanny knack for finding the absolute best spot to see everything. In the backyard, she’s found a spot where she can see the front, the entire backyard, the door to the house as well as the park behind because she is on the high ground. She’s strategically positioned.

Astute people in business do the same. They position the business in a place where they can see customers, competitors and the market. And customers see them. They strategically position.

Are you strategically positioned? When was the last time you checked your view?

self correcting problems

Self-correcting problems

Summer came late to the Pacific Northwest. That long cool, rainy season meant late planting for tomatoes. And I figured that meant smaller vines and fewer tomatoes. Was I wrong! Somehow, the vines knew it was going to be a shorter season and grew fast and produced a ton of tomatoes. They caught up.

The same happens in business. When teams know what to do, they see the setbacks and find a way to catch up. The trick is designing teams that have the skills to recognize and address problems along the way.  And making sure they have the resources to do what they need to do.

moving dirt

Moving dirt

The county is building a park behind my house. The first week was clearing the site, which happened quickly. Since then, the work has seemed like an endless flow of moving dirt back and forth.  And over the six or so weeks, a shape has formed. But one has to wonder, why does it take so long to move dirt?

If you lack expertise in a particular subject, it can be hard to understand why things take so long. Sometimes there is a good reason. Other times, a better way is available and not known or not taken. And finding out starts with asking why it happens the way it does.

how are you making sure you don't miss things because they blend in

What are you missing because it blended in?

It’s the summer growing season. And if you know me well, you know I grow a bunch of things. Including padron peppers. The thing about padrons is the pepper is the exact same color as the leaves. So, as the peppers grow, they tend to blend in, making it very easy to miss them amongst the plant. Just yesterday, I found a pepper that was three times the optimal size at which they are picked. Which means I missed if for a few weeks.

The same things happen in business. At some point, it becomes easy to miss things that need to be dealt with. We miss the point when an action should be taken because everything begins to blend in with each other. So, when it is finally seen, it is a much bigger issue to deal with.

How are you making sure you get perspective to see all of the parts of your business and not just letting them blend together?

do you know when the window will close?

Listening

I was hiking down the trail when I came across a woman heading up the hill with her dog. I had never seen her before and haven’t since. She started talking about her job, her kids and her whole life story. She was at a crossroad and had some big decisions to make. She wasn’t looking for advice, just an ear.

People have had a lot on their plates and just need to share. It’s hard with so many things competing for our time to just stop and listen. But as leaders, it is one of the most important things we can do.

picture this!

What do you see?

A long time store announced it was closing. The owner just needs a break to recharge and come back with a different focus. So, a few friends and I went to have a glass of champagne on the patio. And while we were sitting there enjoying the day, a non-stop line of people bought pastries, deserts, chocolates, cheese and a variety of other items from the vending machine. For the people sitting on the patio with champagne, it was a champagne bar. But for people at the vending machines, it was a high end pastry and tapas shop.

That’s the thing about business. Depending upon what you do, some customers may view you entirely differently than others.

learnings from being the first

Learnings that come with being first

With the heat in the area, everyone is getting out early to exercise. Today, though, I was clearly the first one on some of the trails. As I passed through areas, I had the pleasure of walking through those fine spider webs that cross the trail. Just one strand, but you can feel it on your arms. And they stick until you find a way to get them off.

That’s the thing about blazing a trail. Being first means clearing the way for others. It also means dealing with issues that others won’t have to experience. And that knowledge is gold, because others won’t have it. And it prepares you for getting ahead next time.

are you ready to accelerate when conditions change?

When conditions change, are you ready to accelerate?

Things can change fast. The Pacific Northwest was cool and wet through mid-June. Trails were muddy and required care to navigate through muddy spots to avoiding slipping. Then, all of a sudden, the weather changed and the mud gave way to dusty, dry trails. The slow going gave way to a rapid pace.

Business is the same too.  There are times when conditions require a slower pace and more care. The trick is to know when conditions are changing to accelerate.

When conditions change, are you ready to accelerate?