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?

which option will you choose?

When choosing between two appealing options, sometimes it makes sense to choose the one that doesn’t come along all that often.

Every now and again, a critter runs along my back fence and up into a very large cedar tree. And when my dog is out on the deck and sees the critter running along the fence to the tree, she feels the need to run to the tree and stand on her back legs attempting to get the critter in the tree. The opportunity for the adventure comes only twice a year or so. So when I call her to come, she is much more interested in the critter than a chew. Both options are appealing, but the critter in the tree is infrequent, so she wants that option.

That’s the thing in business, sometimes there are two appealing options, but you can only choose one. When that happens, sometimes it makes sense to choose the option that doesn’t come along all that often.

What message are you trying to communicate?

The postcard arrived in the mail. It was bright yellow and talked about Real ID. Starting in October 2020, Washington State driver licenses will no longer be accepted by TSA at the airport as they are not compliant with federal regulations. An enhanced license is necessary to use at the airport. But it requires a trip to the DMV to provide all the necessary documentation.

I’ve heard about the upcoming change for a while, so wasn’t surprised to see the post card. I set it aside to handle in a few months when my schedule settled down. That was until I pulled out my license to show it to the store clerk and they said it was expired! Usually there is a renewal letter, but not this time. The woman at the DMV said the postcard was the renewal prompt. My takeaway from the postcard was about Real ID, not that my license was expiring.

In business, we communicate all the time. But is it the message you intend?