hidden gems

Hidden Gems

A friend gave me a beautiful plant basket years ago. The plants now live individually in pots on the window sill with the blinds just over the height of the plants to give them light.  It wasn’t until I raised the blinds, that I found one of the plants grew a flower. The plant hadn’t bloomed in years, so it was a lovely surprise to find the bloom hiding behind the blinds.

Hidden gems are all over the place in business and in life. It just takes a little poking around to find them. When was the last time you went looking for hidden gems?

are you magnifying the right things?

Did you really intend to magnify that?

All the screens for the windows on my house were pulled down to be cleaned. To keep mud and grass off them, I laid a piece of plastic on top of my grass in the shade. Then mid way through the project, someone stopped by my house and then a call came through. By that time, the sun shifted and the spot was in the sun, so I quickly finished, pulled up the plastic and moved on.

It wasn’t until the next day that I noticed burned spots on my grass. Apparently, the little water pockets magnified the sun and burned the grass. The damage wasn’t permanent, but it did last a few weeks.

That’s the thing about magnifying. Sometimes it is necessary to make progress. Other times, when done incorrectly or unintentionally, it can make things worse. Are you paying attention to what you magnify?

what is building up that you need to get rid of?

What is building up that you don’t notice?

The rain seemed to finally be tapering off, so it was time to get the windows on my house cleaned. It had been a while. And while they didn’t look that bad, it was time. What a difference once they were done! The clear, brilliant view was amazing. The colors outside were so bright and sharp.

It’s funny how things build up over time that obscure your view. When it is gradual, you might not even notice it. That’s why it is important to periodically go through and clean off the things that build up. You’ll be glad you did!

do you know your customers interests?

Do you have insight into your customer interests?

I’ve noticed a curious trend over the time through the stay at home orders—I’m listening to podcasts less, but the number of podcasts being released has increased. About a month ago, one of the podcasts even noted the trend of reduced listening is happening. But as it turns out, while total listening is down, it is up in some categories and down in others. And the categories I listen to are up.

The trends demonstrate why it is important to understand your specific customers and their interests. When you do, you know when to ramp up and when to pull back.

change that makes sense

Is it better or worse?

A number of websites recently (or that I looked at recently) have moved to a format of pictures or images that are rather large in size and akin to what you’d see on social media, rather than a small image and a headline or lists of headlines. In order to see what is available, the viewer has to scroll down and through many pages to see the desired content.

Similar trends have emerged in using videos rather than an article to communicate. The view is video is richer and has more context. But many times, the video content can be 30 to 60 minutes.

For me, I want to quickly skim and the new formats take much more, causing me to skip them. I’m sure there are lots of people who like the new look or format. The thing is, when communicating, you need multiple formats for customers to consume information the way that suits them best.

are you stopping things that no longer make sense?

Sometimes it makes sense not to rush

History was made over the weekend with the first ever launch of a private spacecraft carrying two Americans to the International Space Station. Upon arriving, a series of steps were taken before the astronauts could move from the capsule to the Space Station. After 19 hours, the hatch opened and another 15 minutes of checks were required. And they were accomplished methodically, with fixes to the equipment along the way. There was no rushing to get out. Safety was important and all the steps were followed. And as a result, the mission was successful.

Are you making sure you are not rushing to get to the end and miss critical steps along the way?

remember and honor

Remember and Honor

Memorial Day. First observed on May 30, 1868 at Arlington National Ceremony.  The Library of Congress indicates Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the grand Army of the Republic issued what was called General Order Number 11″for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion…” In 1971, federal law changed the observance date to the last Monday in May and to recognize all who died in American wars.

It seems surreal today as we remember the fallen in the middle of a global pandemic.  Take a moment today to remember those that have paid the ultimate price for all of us. And to honor all of those who are on the front lines today, whether in the military, the hospitals, the cashiers, the janitors, the truck drivers, the delivery drivers and many more. Thank you.

are you watching for clues?

Are you paying attention to the clues others are giving you?

Dogs have a funny way of letting you know when there is something not to their liking. Mine has been letting me know regularly when she is not pleased to get dog food when my dinner smells really good to her.

I call it Dinner, no thanks.

She picks up her bowl and turns it over, then walks off or gives me the stink eye.

She is not subtle.

But many times, people are. They give subtle clues that are visible if you are paying attention. With social distancing and the stress of life today, those clues may be much more difficult to see.

Are you paying attention to the clues others are giving you?

are you adjusting when conditions change?

Are you adjusting when conditions change?

With stay at home orders still in effect, people are out walking on a regular basis. In my area, many of the roads do not have sidewalks, causing people to walk in the road. When on a sidewalk, the rule of thumb is to walk the same way traffic flows. But on the road with no sidewalks, the rule of thumb is to walk opposite the flow of traffic so you can see cars coming at you. But very few people make the adjustment and walk opposite traffic.

Going with the flow and not adjusting when conditions change happens all the time in business and in life. The key is to notice that conditions have actually changed. Once you do, you be able to make the appropriate adjustments.

What hazards are in your path?

Are you missing hazards in your path?

The cat was crouched in the road eyeing a critter in the ditch on the side of the road. It was clearly planning it’s attack. Then a car appeared, speeding, from a dip in the road. It was clear the driver was not paying attention to the road ahead. I held up my hand in a stop sign and the other pointing to the cat in the road. Clearly the driver didn’t see me either. The cat didn’t see the car coming as it was focused on the critter. At the last minute, the car swerved and braked. The cat ran right in front of the car. As panic set in, the cat emerged and ran off. It was only luck that the cat survived.

There is so much going on right now with the pandemic, that it is easy to miss hazards in your path. How are you making sure you don’t?