that's not possible!

That’s Not Possible!

A few weeks ago, scientists published their findings about how glass frogs become see through. Somehow, they are able to store their red blood cells in their liver. But doing that should cause them to die from lack of oxygen. And yet, they keep on going.

There are times in business when people will say “That’s not possible!” And that’s when the biggest breakthroughs happen. People find a way.

navigating obstacles

Navigating Obstacles

Last week was a wild ride from a weather perspective. Ice covered streets gave way to winds of 50-80 mph. As typically happens, many trees fell. Life on the trail keeps going. People climb over, crawl under or go around the downed trees. They won’t let the obstacle get in the way.

Many obstacles will pop up in the coming year, as they have in the past. How will you navigate them and keep going to achieve  your goals?

sometime you need to know when to break the rules

Sometimes breaking the rules is necessary

The big storm that made its way across the country left an ice rink where the street used to be. And when it was safe enough to drive, I found cars abandoned along the side of the road. The road dips down and then up, with a stop sign at the top of the hill. And if you’ve lived in an area with snow or ice and a stop sign at the top of the hill, you know that you can’t stop at the stop sign without sliding back down the hill. You watch for other cars and keep going.

Sometimes breaking the rules are necessary to get where you are going. The trick is knowing when the conditions warrant doing so.

what do you see?

What do you see?

There’s always a lot to see on the trail. Sometimes the expected­–horses, dogs, people, streams, trees and snow. Sometimes the unexpected like the peacock a few weeks ago. Today, it was a little figurine sitting on a tree trunk amongst mushrooms. A little out of place, but a lot of fun.

These little bits of unexpected fun can be found everywhere. If someone puts them out there and others are looking for them. We often have blinders on to keep us focused. And sometimes the focus is so strong, we lose the fun around us. As business leaders, it is up to us to make sure we have those little bits of fun and encourage people to look for them.

what are your quality expectations

Quality expectations

Two years ago, I bought a new refrigerator. The old one had been around for 13 years until a design flaw finally caught up. The repairman said he could fix it, but the problem would resurface. I’d be better off buying a new one. Then he suggested not getting one with all the bells and whistles because the more options, the more opportunities to break. So I wasn’t surprised when I started receiving notices for extended warranty plans that are pretty expensive. A signal that after two years, things will start breaking.

The situation presented an interesting question. What are the expectations of people today about how long products will last? And are businesses making products that meet those expectations? How do you make that evaluation in your business?

one size doesn't fit all

Ditch the script and resolve the issue

The trash pickup was missed. Somehow the truck just missed going through the entire subdivision. When I called, the person I spoke with explained I could just leave extra on the side the following week at no extra charge. Then proceeded to ask me if I wanted to pay the bill that wasn’t due for two weeks.

The challenge with a one size fits all script is it leaves customers confused or angry and puts the employee in an awkward situation. And it results in more time spent because all of the steps must be accomplished. Or more time is spent because the issue isn’t being resolved. The best results come when people are hired who can resolve issues and they are empowered to do so.

How are you ditching the script and resolving issues in your business?

Beauty in unexpected places

Beauty in Unexpected Places

A few days ago, I was heading down the trail when I rounded the bend and saw something that was totally unexpected. A peacock. Beautiful, iridescent blue neck and head. Flowing tail feathers. Stunning. And totally out of place in the Pacific Northwest on a 40 degree morning.

There’s beauty in many unexpected places. Sometimes, it just takes a moment to stop and observe and appreciate what is before us.

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?