Is your message getting lost in translation?

Is your message lost in translation?

Last week, I was in San Juan. And as I was walking down the street, this rooster was standing there cock a doodle dooing away. He had a lot to say. And very loudly. The thing was, I wasn’t quite sure what he was trying to communicate. Marking his territory? Warning others of people? Something else? We spoke different languages. So, I didn’t understand his message. But that didn’t stop him from sending it.

Often times as leaders, we send messages out to others. But the people on the receiving end don’t always understand the message being sent. It’s lost in translation. And that’s the challenge we have as leaders. Making sure we are sending a message that people understand.

creating a raving fan

What impression do you want to leave?

A few weeks ago, I went to buy a few clothes for an upcoming trip. The woman checking me out was a delight! She was friendly, shared how excited she was that her mom was coming to visit and all of the amazing things coming up. We had a great conversation. My last impression leaving the store. And I left delighted with the experience.

It’s amazing how those brief experiences color our views of  who we do business with. How are you designing customer experiences? And what impression do you want to leave?

trust your gut

Trust your gut

A few weeks ago, I was playing Wordle. You’ve got 6 guesses to figure out the five letter word. After my second guess, I thought I knew the word. But, I overthought it and wanted to eliminate more letters, so I went with my standard third guess. It was the safe play. Well, turns out, I knew the word and would have solved the puzzle. So, I got it on four instead of three.

The safe bet often gets you there in the end. It may just take a little more time. But sometimes, you know the right action. Do you trust your gut or play it safe?

how are you focusing on the things that matter


For a lot of the summer, it seemed there were bugs everywhere. Which meant spiders began to show up everywhere too. And as I tried to take pictures of these quarter sized creatures that were strung across trails, plants and trees, I couldn’t get my iPhone to focus on them. I’d get up really close and zoom in. I’d tap the screen to show where to focus. I even watched YouTube tutorials. And try as I might, all I have are a series of blurs with beautifully focused foliage in the background.

Sometimes, try as we might, we aren’t able to focus on what is right in front of us. The things behind it pull focus because that small item seems overwhelmed by the breadth of the background.

That’s the challenge for leaders. Staying focused on the things that matter. And not getting distracted by all the little things going on in the background.

How are you making sure you focus on the things that matter?

inside out and backwards

Inside out and backwards

The other day I was in a hurry. And without knowing it, I put my shirt on inside out and backwards. I didn’t notice by looking because I had another long sleeve lightweight shirt on over it. It served the purpose, but wasn’t quite right. It was functional, but just not quite right.

We often have things in business that aren’t quite right. They function, but not as intended. And not at peak. They aren’t noticed because something is obscuring the view. But to function well, we need to get them back to their proper order.

How are you making sure things aren’t inside out and backwards?

blending in

Blending in

Fall is here, even though the weather seems to be telling a different story. So I decided to see if my strawberry patch was working to produce fall strawberries. Nestled in the middle of the leaves was a frog, just larger than a thumbnail, sitting on a leaf in the middle of the patch. Given its color and size, it blended in so well that it would have been easy to miss if not looking closely.

There are times blending in makes sense. When trying to avoid danger. Or in a chorus line. Or a band or orchestra. In those cases, pulling focus is a bad thing. But when selling a product or service, standing out makes the difference between getting lost in the background or having a bumper year.

Are you trying to blend in or stand out?

like vs fit

Like vs. Fit

“Which did you like best?” That was the question posed to me at the end of a wine tasting over the weekend. It’s a typical sales question that’s designed to engage in conversation that results in a sale.

But what’s best is not how I think about most things. Rather, I think about what is the best fit for this situation? And that’s how I responded. I like different wines for different occasions. Some just fit better based on preferences of the group, food or the occasion.

The same happens in business. There are people, systems, locations, etc. that are a really good fit under certain conditions and not others. So, it isn’t always about which you like best. The best decisions are focused on which is the best fit.

it just takes one to start a trend

It just takes one to start a trend

Over the course of a few weeks, neighbor after neighbor started power washing then sealing their driveways. Each driveway took days to complete the multi-step process. Clearly each homeowner thought the effort was worth it because one after another the process started anew.

That’s the thing about trends. It just takes one person to start. And when others see or hear about it and think it is a good idea, they follow. The challenge in making sure people see the benefit to them. Once they do, they’ll join in.

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.