She greeted me with a huge smile. It was my first time to the wildlife refuge. And as I shared that with her while walking up the sidewalk, she got up from the window and came outside with a map. She showed me all the highlights, how to get the most out of the visit and even some tips on binoculars. Then she shared why she loved it so much. The volunteering, the community, the people, learning about the birds. All of it.

When people have a passion for their job, it shows. It lifts up the entire experience for customers and employees. And because of their passion, the work product is typically much better. It’s worth considering passion when hiring.

the power of I can

The Power of I Can

Wow! How can it do that? That’s all I could think as a squirrel leaped across the driveway with a bright red apple about half the size of its body in its mouth. It was probably carrying about half its body weight. But you wouldn’t know given how easily it was leaping. And how was it able to get enough of the apple in its mouth without dropping it? It didn’t worry about all the reasons why it couldn’t or shouldn’t be able to do what it just did. It just did it.

Too often in business, we overthink or come up with all the reasons why something isn’t possible. Or shouldn’t work. Most of the time, it is just a matter of getting in the right frame of mind and making it happen.

broken promises

Broken Promises

For several years now, I’ve had Hulu Live with No Ads.  No Ads costs a bit more, but was worth it when I signed up. Lately though, everything has ads. Most recently the ads have morphed into interactive ads. 30 seconds of commercials with interaction or two minutes if I don’t. Provide data or watch more commercials.

Do what you said you were going to do is one of the basic tenets in business. In a commodity business, people will put up with broken promises to a point to have the lowest cost. For most businesses, at some point, lack of trust will diminish the ability to do business. It’s just a matter of when.

the high cost of errors

The High Costs of Errors

It just happened again. Different company this time. A package was delivered to my door, but it wasn’t for me. And I wasn’t even sure of the location of the house. It wasn’t close by. Upon reaching out, the company told me to keep it or donate it. So it went in the donation pile for the next time I make a drop off.  The people are always nice through the process. But, it’s clear that the cost of picking up the package and returning it or redelivering it is more than just sending a new one. Errors are costly.

Some companies keep a close eye on errors and try to reduce them. But many companies don’t. And the cost gets buried in cost of sales. Whether it is rework for a services business, manufacturing errors, damage in shipping or shipping to the wrong place, those errors can add up fast. If you don’t already, why not keep track of error rates and work on getting them down.

does the design fit the need

Does the design fit the need?

The waste management company recently changed its collection vehicles from a two person vehicle that required one person to dump the contents of the trash can into the truck and the other to drive, to the automated version requiring only one person who drives and operates the collection arm. It makes sense from a cost perspective when the labor market is tight. However, the trucks are much bigger and are too big to navigate cul de sacs. So, the driver spends time going forward and backward to navigate the cul de sac and all the bends in the road.

When making decisions, it’s important to look at real life situations to see how well suited a product is for the user.  Sometimes ideas look great on paper, but don’t fare well when it is put into real life conditions. Other times, when it is designed well, it takes off beyond expectations.  And that’s the trick. Testing products to see how well they work for the end customer.

there's always something new

There’s always something new

Nature has a way of renewing and adapting. We’re now in the season when leaves change colors and fall from the trees. Just the other day, I found a red mushroom. Something I hadn’t seen before. Birds are migrating south. Just about every day, there is something new and different than the day before. And it’s always amazing.

The same can be true in business. Things are always changing. Curious people will look around and find something new and amazing, not just a daily grind. And those are the people worth hiring because they will make every day a good one.

value add or destructive? maybe both

Value Add or Destructive? Maybe a little of both

One day recently, I was leaning over some plants and was startled to find a praying mantis had taken up residence. They’re interesting creatures. Very fast. Heads that swivel. And typically beneficial in the garden. They’re good at removing insets that are not desirable. But they can also consume beneficial insects such as bees.

Like these complicated critters, people in the workplace can be complicated too. Sometimes people that do a tremendous amount of good can leave some damage behind as well. The trick is to make sure people are focused on the good stuff and kept away from areas where they can cause damage.

knowing the difference

Knowing the Difference

Now that fall has begun and the rain has returned, mushrooms have started popping up along the trail and in the woods. There are quite a variety. And a few look like the type I get at the store. But I’m not a mushroom expert and there are a lot of look alikes that aren’t edible. Taking a chance on not knowing the difference could be highly problematic.

The same sort of situation can be found in business. It’s easy to pick an option that kinda looks like what you need. But not having the skills to know the one that will work and the one that won’t can take you to a bad place. That’s why having people with the right skills is so important for high impact decisions.

watching concrete dry

Watching concrete dry

The new sidewalk was nice and winding. But it had a problem that needed to be repaired. And because it was in a public place, the crew had to stay and wait until the new concrete dried before leaving to ensure there was no damage.

Whether intentional or not, people can create a lot of damage by entering areas that are not yet meant for use. They like to check out new things. Whether it is a new facility, or new systems, or something that is not yet complete, having clear boundaries that are respected by people is necessary to keep costs down and maintain functionality.

how do you know when to act?

How do you know when to act?

The deer saw me before I saw it. I was up the hill and it was in the trees by the stream. It didn’t move, it just stood there staring at me. As I watched it, it’s ears moved around, detecting sounds in all directions. It never broke it’s gaze. It’s a natural protection mechanism, hearing before seeing. The deer knows what is coming and can act accordingly.

In business, that’s not always the case. Mechanisms often aren’t put in place to detect what is coming. Those that do adjust, survive and thrive. Those that don’t ultimately cease to exist.