is a geyser about to go off?

Is a geyser about to erupt?

There is a stretch of highway near my house that segments into blocks and depresses on one side, causing the other side to elevate. Periodically, the department of transportation comes through and replaces the section, resulting in the same thing happening to the next section.

A few days ago, after a long stretch of rain, a semi ran over the next section, causing a geyser to erupt that went many feet into the air through the seam in the pavement.

Clearly, large amounts of water are getting trapped under the highway, only getting relieved once a significant amount of pressure is applied. There are signs something is going on under the surface. The symptoms seem to be addressed periodically, but not the cause.

You’ve probably seen the same thing happening in business. Pressure starts building somewhere and eventually cracks become apparent, along with the occasional geyser. It is important when the signs become apparent, the cause is addressed and not just the symptom. If the cause isn’t addressed, the symptoms will continue, getting worse and more expensive.

How are you making sure you don’t have a geyser in your business?

what does the light show?

The light reveals what is really there. Are you ready for it?

It has been raining in the area. A lot. January was the wettest in the last 14 years. So it is no wonder my backyard is really muddy. With an 80 pound yellow lab, it is hard to keep the mud in the backyard and not in the house.

I knew there was quite a bit of work necessary this weekend to get it cleaned up. No amount of toweling seems to get it all. But, I was surprised when the sun came out and lit up my stairwell to see the mud drops all the way up the stairs to the second story. On the walls. Yikes! What a mess!

As hard as you try to stay on top of things, messes can creep in. The same happens in business. And it isn’t until a bright light shines on different parts of the business that you see some work is needed.

How are you shining a light through the business to see what is working well and what needs attention?

do you know who is listening?

Do you know who is listening?

John Kerry was talking on the phone over the weekend, sharing his thoughts on what he would have to do to enter the presidential race. Nearby was an NBC news analyst who overheard the conversation and reported it. The reporting set off a series of tweets and statements that Kerry wasn’t considering a run.

While the prominence of Kerry resulted in coverage in the media, conversations in public are regularly overheard. Sometimes by people who are interested in the intelligence, and sometimes not.

The situation is a good reminder for leaders not to share confidential information in public, whether on the phone or in screens that can be read by anyone nearby. You never know who is listening or looking!

are you wasting time on preferences?

Are you wasting time on preferences?

My dog has preferences that seem to change over time. Her new thing is where she eats dinner. She likes to eat on the carpet. I fill her bow and put it on a rug that is easy to clean. She then picks it up and carries it over to the carpet and eats there. And if I put her bully sticks in the bowl, she will walk over immediately and take them out of the bowl. All the work I do to make it how I think it should be is immediately undone by her.

These sorts of things happen at work too. People re-arrange data files, layouts of offices, work processes, etc. to accommodate their preferences.  And most of the time it doesn’t really matter how it is done, as long as it works for the person doing it. So, why not stop wasting time going back and forth on preferences?

the aha moment

How do you know when an idea catches?

You know that feeling when you hear a song that is about to take off. Your foot starts tapping or your fingers drum. Or maybe you dance in your chair or bob your head to the rhythm. There is something about it that makes you want to listen. It is a feeling. And people who compose music can tell you about the technical side of what makes songs catchy. But for the person listening, the technical side might not matter. They just care about how they feel listening to it.

The same is true in any part of business. Ideas catch when they make life easier for the people they touch. They feel better because it is easy and takes some of the pressure off an already busy day. And businesses that are very successful know this and make sure their ideas catch before they are released.

How do you know when your ideas catch?

are you challenging yourself to be strong?

Are you trying things that challenge you and make you stronger?

Last week, I tried a different class at the gym. And was I glad I did! My normal class wasn’t going to happen, so I needed to figure out an alternative. But I wasn’t excited by the options. Then, an instructor I liked walked by and told me she was teaching a class at the time I had open. It was a format that complemented the other classes I take. So, I tried it and was sore afterward. It was a great reminder that muscles adapt and need to be challenged with something new regularly.

The same is true in business. If you keep doing the same things, your business won’t continue to grow and get stronger. Keep doing the things that make you strong. And actively seek other things that compliment your strengths, but challenge you to get even stronger.

When was the last time you tried something new? Was it something that would challenge you, but make you stronger?

don't loose sight by focusing too much

Keeping the decks clear to focus on priorities

Over the holidays, I usually spend some time clearing out the clutter. This year was no exception. A trip to recycle old electronics, clearing out items I no longer use and getting my paperwork in order in advance of the tax season positioned me for a good start in 2020.

But I couldn’t help thinking as I went through everything, that I kept a bunch of articles and things to look at when I had time through the year. And guess what. They were never a priority and just created more work for me later. And a bit of mental overhang that I wasn’t getting to them.

In business and in life, unless something comes along that will really move the dial in making progress, don’t save it for later. If it isn’t a priority, move on. How will you keep the clutter down in 2020?

Are you ready for 2020?

A new year and new decade is just about to begin. Are you ready?

What were you doing in 2010? How did you go about life? It was probably very different that what you are doing and how you are living today. This morning I was speaking with someone who was working retail over the weekend. She remarked it was the slowest she has ever seen it in the store in the last decade. And the retail stats (including online purchases) were at record highs.

Things have changed a lot in the last decade. People and companies that have reinvented themselves are thriving today. Those that haven’t are struggling. As we get ready to enter 2020, how will you reinvent yourself to thrive this year?

how are you finding delight in the season

A little delight in the season

The holidays are upon us. For some, it is a stressful time. Others find joy in the little things. Today, a woman sang joyfully to the music playing. Another found joy in the gift of favorite things she received. Others found joy in surprising an instructor with a gift, making her day. How are you finding delight in the season?

are conditions changing?

When changing conditions require rethinking your strategy

The local grocery store was going to close. There were two other stores close by and foot traffic wasn’t where it needed to be. Both received a significant facelift, but this one had the hallmarks of a store from decades ago.

And then conditions change. A new freeway offramp was constructed that increased the flow of traffic to the store.  And all of a sudden its fate changed. The economics of the store made sense to keep it open.

Conditions change all the time in the business landscape. And many times they are out of your control. But the change can have a significant impact on your business. Do you have a mechanism to note the changes and adjust your strategy accordingly?