What are you thankful for?

What are you thankful for?

It has been a crazy year to say the least! But in times like these, the best in people comes out. Family, friends, neighbors and complete strangers helping others. New developments that would have taken years take months. New ideas and ways of doing things making business more customer friendly.

If you take a moment to look around, you’ll find so many amazing things. What are you thankful for?

are you taking more time than you need?

How much time and money are you wasting?

Work from home has brought about many changes. A lot of them are good. Some, not so much. Pre-COVID, making meetings as efficient as possible was a top area of focus. Somehow, with all of the adjustments, meeting efficiency has dropped significantly. Agendas are not as tight, leaving lots of inefficient time.

But the biggest change is not starting on time. Meetings now regularly have an appointed start time, but when people logon, an announcement is made that the meeting will actually start a few minutes past the announced start time. The result is, for those in the know, logging on late and for those not in the know, wasted time that can be used for something else. And wasted time is wasted money.

High performing companies set start times and use time efficiently. They have tight agendas and focus on decisions and actions. Have you slid backwards on meetings in the work from home era? If so, it is time to get back on track!

make a difference

Longevity and Perseverance

Alex Trebek passed away over the weekend. Like many, I didn’t know him but saw him on tv over the years. While he had many successes, the greatest tributes to him are found from people talking about what a lovely and decent man he was.

He had a remarkable career. He began in journalism and switched to game show hosting in his mid 20’s in 1966. But it took until 1984 for him to land Jeopardy! And in a world of constantly changing desires and interests, he sustained the show through his death in 2020. Remarkable!

His life was one of perseverance, curiosity, and generosity. What can you take away from his life to implement in your own?

Risk can be an advantage

Risk can be an advantage

Most people’s toes curl when they hear the word “risk.” But risk can be a competitive advantage. In learning what can go wrong, you also need to understand what can go right. Once you know that, you can minimize the impact of the downside. If you can find a point of distinction in being able to manage risk better than your competitors, you have a decisive advantage.

do you really want feedback?

Are you really trying to get feedback?

A few weeks ago, a sign popped up on the side of the road. It was the standard poster size on a wood stick. The background was a light green with white type, making it impossible to see what the sign was about. After looking at it a few times as I passed by, I finally pulled over to see what it was about. The only thing I could ascertain was there was some sort of comment period about roadway amendments. The type so small and lacked contrast, it was hard to read without getting out of the car. It made me wonder if the county really wanted comments or if it was just an attempt to comply with the law.

These sorts of situations happen all the time in business. Requests for feedback are put out to customers in an attempt to show the business is open to comments. What happens next will tell you if the desire for comments is genuine. Top performing businesses genuinely want to understand what is working and what is not. That’s how they get better.

expect the unexpected

The unexpected can happen

It was a sunny day when I was in the backyard a few weeks ago. Being fall, I don’t typically look at my strawberry patch. But while looking at a few things nearby, I glanced over and saw a beautiful red strawberry. In the fall. It was totally unexpected.

The unexpected happens all the time around us. It just takes keeping your eyes open to find it.

Be a leader like Lincoln

To lead others, you must lead yourself first

Be like Lincoln. He had a depth of understanding about himself, which allowed him to keep himself in check and learn from failure. And through that journey, he was able to learn what drives others and how to bring out the best in them. To lead others, you must lead yourself first.

You can't fake normal

You can’t fake normal

A few weeks ago, a commercial caught my attention. There was no talking, just a catchy tune along with a group of people moving to the music. But something seemed off. Looking more closely, it was clear the people had been filmed separately and cut together to appear as if they were actually together. All the subtleties of human interaction weren’t there. And while the attempt to make the environment seem normal, it wasn’t.

Some businesses today are trying to artificially create what normal was 9 months ago rather than working with the conditions of today and creating a new experience. You can’t fake normal. People will notice.

people are watching you even when you don't know it

People are watching even when you don’t know it

Pretty much every day, I walk up and over the big hill by my house. Many days, the same people out walking and we say hi, expressing gratitude for the nice day.  One day, a man was in front of his house and asked about my walking route. He said he saw me pass by at about the same time every day.

And that got me thinking about how people in business watch leaders. They take clues from what they do and don’t do. And they are watching even when you don’t know it. Are you sending a consistent message to your people through words and actions, even when you don’t think they are watching?

sometimes automation gives you the wrong answer

Sometimes automation gives the wrong answer

The smoke has cleared and the sun is back! But for a while, everything went haywire. Including Amazon deliveries. My orders got to the area, but just sat there. I could see it through the tracking. The delivery dates were sliding out and finally were listed as potentially lost. There wasn’t any notice if the site was being impacted by smoke or fire and the people at the help desk didn’t know anything. After one order showed as being sent to Maryland from Portland a week later, I was finally able to reach a person live who told me everything was in Portland and would arrive that day!

When systems are completely automated and an unexpected event disrupts and intervenes, the system can give all sorts of bad information. How are you building checks into your systems to make sure you are getting the right information at the right time?