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.


Strategic Positioning

My dog has an uncanny knack for finding the absolute best spot to see everything. In the backyard, she’s found a spot where she can see the front, the entire backyard, the door to the house as well as the park behind because she is on the high ground. She’s strategically positioned.

Astute people in business do the same. They position the business in a place where they can see customers, competitors and the market. And customers see them. They strategically position.

Are you strategically positioned? When was the last time you checked your view?

self correcting problems

Self-correcting problems

Summer came late to the Pacific Northwest. That long cool, rainy season meant late planting for tomatoes. And I figured that meant smaller vines and fewer tomatoes. Was I wrong! Somehow, the vines knew it was going to be a shorter season and grew fast and produced a ton of tomatoes. They caught up.

The same happens in business. When teams know what to do, they see the setbacks and find a way to catch up. The trick is designing teams that have the skills to recognize and address problems along the way.  And making sure they have the resources to do what they need to do.

moving dirt

Moving dirt

The county is building a park behind my house. The first week was clearing the site, which happened quickly. Since then, the work has seemed like an endless flow of moving dirt back and forth.  And over the six or so weeks, a shape has formed. But one has to wonder, why does it take so long to move dirt?

If you lack expertise in a particular subject, it can be hard to understand why things take so long. Sometimes there is a good reason. Other times, a better way is available and not known or not taken. And finding out starts with asking why it happens the way it does.

how are you making sure you don't miss things because they blend in

What are you missing because it blended in?

It’s the summer growing season. And if you know me well, you know I grow a bunch of things. Including padron peppers. The thing about padrons is the pepper is the exact same color as the leaves. So, as the peppers grow, they tend to blend in, making it very easy to miss them amongst the plant. Just yesterday, I found a pepper that was three times the optimal size at which they are picked. Which means I missed if for a few weeks.

The same things happen in business. At some point, it becomes easy to miss things that need to be dealt with. We miss the point when an action should be taken because everything begins to blend in with each other. So, when it is finally seen, it is a much bigger issue to deal with.

How are you making sure you get perspective to see all of the parts of your business and not just letting them blend together?