Do you have a strong root structure?

Do you have a strong root system?

The tree was laying across the trail, causing me to look at it as I climbed over it. It’s roots were largely detached, probably the reason it fell. Roots do a lot. They anchor trees to the ground, they gather nutrients to help the tree grow and they absorb water. Healthy root systems are necessary for healthy trees.

The same is true in business. A strong foundation, just like roots, is necessary for the business to grow and thrive. Culture, a strong team, systems and processes are all necessary for the business to grow and thrive.

Do you have a strong root system in your business? If not, it’s time to take a look at how to strengthen it.

is bureaucracy getting in the way of solutions?

Is bureaucracy getting in the way of solutions?

A massive development is going in on the major road to the freeway. The project is developing an area that was previously undeveloped, requiring all sorts of new infrastructure. As part of the development, the road completely closes for 15 minutes, cars are let through then it closes again. If you hit the closures wrong, you’ll spend 30 minutes waiting for each back and forth trip.

The county doesn’t consider the road closed, so detour signs are not placed out, nor are signs about intermittent closures. One time while I was waiting, they explained all the rules as to why they can’t notify people of the closure, allowing them to take a detour.

The situation is a classic example of how bureaucracy gets in the way of providing solutions. The same can be found in businesses. Rules exist that make doing the job harder and less efficient, or provide lots of friction points for customers.

Is bureaucracy getting in the way of solutions in your business? If so, what is stopping you from getting rid of it?

are you taking more time than you need?

Are your products user friendly?

This past weekend marked the annual spring forward an hour. Along with that leap comes the ritual of adjusting any clock that does not adjust itself. For me, one of those is in my car. For some strange reason, my car has two clocks. One of which is very easy to adjust. The other, I’ve not been able to figure out after reading the manual and looking online. So, for part of the year, it is off an hour.

The funny thing about my car is it illustrates the spectrum of user friendliness. On the one end, a product that is easy to use without any instruction manual. On the other, so difficult that even with a manual, it is difficult to operate.

Which end of the spectrum are your products?

sometimes what looks like an epic fail turns out not to be

Sometimes what looks like an epic fail turns out to be a success

My dog loves chews. She literally runs for them at full speed. So when I got her a new one, I thought she would love it. She tore through it with gusto. But with each bite she took, she spit out the pieces in a pile all around her. It was an epic fail. Or so I thought. It turns out, she went back and ate all the pieces she spit out around her. That fail turned out to be a success.

Sometimes with new things, it gets really messy in the middle and you wonder why you got into the mess in the first place. But with persistence, you can get to the other side and will have learned a lot from the journey.

When was the last time you thought you had an epic fail and it turned out to be a success?

grow by the inch, die by the foot

Growing by the inch and dying by the foot

The sign read: Plants grow by the inch and die by the foot. How clever! It was a catchy way of asking people to stay on the trail that leads out from the Mt. St. Helens observatory into the mountains. The trail is pretty narrow and the tendency of many would be to trample the plants to get around others in their way. Killing plants that took time to grow.

In business, it is really easy to kill ideas or discourage people by trying to be expeditious. There are times when ideas and people need to be nurtured. And at those times, having an explicit view of how they will be protected is critical to their success.

How are you making sure your ideas and people aren’t growing by the inch and dying by the foot?

do you know when the window will close?

What is blinding you?

There are days at this time of year when the sun peaks out and is stunning. But, because the angle of the sun is lower, it has a tendency to be blinding at times. Which makes it hard to look ahead.

There are times in business when the same thing happens. Something ahead is blinding us. When that happens, how are you making sure you get a clear view to make good decisions and keep on the intended path?

how are you carving a path?

How are you carving a path for your people?

Have you ever noticed the channel cut by a stream or a river in an area that has large volumes of water that flow through? Sometimes a tree or changes in the embankments can change its course. But generally, it heads roughly in the same direction.

Leaders are a bit like that stream or river. They need to chart a course for their team, leaving a very clear path that people can follow. Sometimes they need to make course corrections in a clear way that shows people how to adjust. And the direction is always forward, at times with high velocity.

How are you creating carving a path for your people?

when was the last time you shared what you are excited about?

When was the last time you shared everything exciting in your life?

A funny thing happens periodically when I’m at my favorite hiking place. I’ll run into a family out for a hike when one of the kids will come up to me and share all the things they are excited about. Birthdays, blue shoes, moss, adventures. There’s no end. They just want to share about all the exciting things in their life.

Whether at work or in life, what a great lesson! It’s not just the sharing of excitement, it’s the mindset that focuses on all the exciting things in life.

When was the last time you shared everything exciting in your life?

Unexpected things happen all the time. Are you watching?

Unexpected things happen all the time. Are you watching for them?

On a recent day, I decided to go for a lunchtime hike at my favorite hiking place. There are so many miles of trails that even if there are a number of people around, you might not see them for quite a distance. And that was the case that particular day. Which made it possible for what happened. As I was coming around the bend, right ahead of me on the path were three deer. All three paused for a moment, looked at me, then ran up the trail. They rounded a bend and were gone.

Their appearance was totally unexpected. Not for the location, but for the time of day. Unexpected things happen all the time. Are you watching for them?

how are you making sure you aren't trimming the wrong things

How are you creating a place for ideas to grow?

After an inch or two of snow, the weather was cold enough to keep the snow from melting for about a week. Which led birds to find food a different way.  The birds, that are not normally visible, were everywhere and nipping off the buds that were just emerging. They just moved through each limb, removing every single bud. Nothing was left.

In business, cutting off the new growth in every single part of business can stop new products or services from reaching their potential. The most successful businesses have a place where ideas can germinate and grow. They know that is the lifeblood of their business.

How are you making sure you have a place for ideas to grow?