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?

What are you thankful for?


Several people shared over the last week that their favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. You can make it what you want it to be. It is not over-commercialized. It is a day for spending with friends and family and giving thanks. And that is what makes it so special.

How are spending your day? What are you grateful for?

team of people

The all hands meeting

Panic was setting in. An all hands meeting was called and no details were shared. She was stressed as she shared her thoughts. What were they going to get in trouble for? Were they closing locations? Would they still have jobs?

As it turned out, the meeting was held every year. The other shoe didn’t drop. And there wasn’t anything extraordinary that came out of the meeting. Relief set in. It was an investment by the owner and the people. But there were no calls to action.

Eliminating the panic cycle from calling all hands meetings is easy to address. Regular (at least quarterly) communication by leadership sets an expectation that people will hear about what is going on in the business.  It gives people an opportunity to ask questions and clarify direction.

Are you communicating with people in your organization regularly? People want information and want to be part of what is going on. So, why not talk regularly and move the dial from panic to excitement.

the solution is right in front of you

What is your perspective?

My dog and I went for a walk up the hill to the college campus. The sun was just coming up and it was stunning! The bright reds and oranges framed Mt. Hood in the distance. The few rippled clouds in the sky reflected the purples then golds of the rising sun. Fog wisps settled in among the silhouettes of the evergreen trees. As the sun came up, those clouds reflected the golden light onto the yellows, golds and reds of the trees, making their leaves even more brilliant.

As I enjoyed the majesty of the morning, my dog found other things to enjoy. No matter how many times we walk the same route, she finds new things to sniff and today was no different. She was having a ball sniffing the grass that had been recently washed by the rain.

As I watched her enjoying herself immensely, it struck me that we were in the same place having totally different experiences. It was all a matter of perspective.

How often do you take a moment to understand the perspective of others?

a picture is worth a thousand words

Do you see yourself in the picture?

The annual catalog came out for the anniversary sale. This time it was exclusively on line, and it was available just as the sale was starting. I took a quick peek before heading to the store and was shocked. It was a series of odd pictures with prints that clashed in combinations I would never wear. I couldn’t see myself in anything that was pictured. And apparently I wasn’t alone. The sales rep I met with had the same reaction. If I wasn’t a long time customer, I wouldn’t have shopped based on what I saw.

People have to see themselves in the picture. Whether it is working in your business or buying your products or services, they have to know that they fit. If they don’t see themselves in the picture, they will go somewhere else.

When was the last time you thought about whether your people or your customers see themselves in the picture with you?

Are too many projects started, but not finished, creating chaos in your organization?

There’s an intersection that has been under construction for months. More accurately, the corners have been torn up and cones blocking the right turn lanes. The sidewalks have been closed, causing people in wheelchairs to have to enter the street to navigate the intersection. And while the project clearly started months ago, there hasn’t been any activity to finish it. As a result, the intersection remains clogged as people try to navigate it.

That’s the thing about starting too many things in a business. Stuff gets torn up and creates a chaotic situation when it is not finished. And the tendency is to start the next thing before finishing the project that is underway. It slows everything down and makes people feel like they aren’t making progress.

High-performing companies know that it is better to start fewer projects and finish them before moving to the next. Things actually work better and more progress is made. How are you avoiding chaos in your organization?