how are you making sure you aren't trimming the wrong things

How are you creating a place for ideas to grow?

After an inch or two of snow, the weather was cold enough to keep the snow from melting for about a week. Which led birds to find food a different way.  The birds, that are not normally visible, were everywhere and nipping off the buds that were just emerging. They just moved through each limb, removing every single bud. Nothing was left.

In business, cutting off the new growth in every single part of business can stop new products or services from reaching their potential. The most successful businesses have a place where ideas can germinate and grow. They know that is the lifeblood of their business.

How are you making sure you have a place for ideas to grow?

do you know when the window will close?

Do you know when the window is open and when it will close?

The last few days have been so foggy, the sun was not able to burn through. Today was different. The sun was bright and shiny against a brilliant, blue background, which made for a lovely drive to my favorite hiking place. In the distance, the clouds were so thick, they obscured the mountains. But that was in the distance.

As I started my hike, the sun streamed through the trees. The water, the green of the trees, the sun and the blue sky all played against each other in a beautiful way. But as my hike proceeded, the fog rolled back in and dulled the brilliant colors against a grey background. The window closed.

In business, the same happens. We see things on the horizon. Sometimes they come to pass and other times they don’t. Knowing when the window is open and when it will close is the key to success. How good are you at predicting when the window is open and when it will close?

are you building to last?

Are you building to last?

One day, a few weeks ago, it was windy. Really windy. It happens periodically. Sometimes a few trees fall over or limbs fall. And life goes on. This time, a brand new fence was blown over. In its entirety. The whole thing was just lying on the ground, intact from end to end. The problem was clear. The fence posts were small metal poles that had been driven less than a foot into the ground, anchored by a 9 inch diameter concrete footing. The very small anchor wasn’t enough to stand up to 50 mph gusts of wind pushing on the fence, even though every other fence around it was still standing.

Understanding the conditions necessary to last for the long term are important. Are you building to last?

How are you recharging?

How are you recharging?

One of my favorite things these days is hiking through the woods. The fresh smell, the greenery, the winding trails. It is a great way to recharge.

As we approach the end of the year, how are you recharging?

Don’t get distracted from the things that matter

One day on a walk, a squirrel was sitting on a rock eating a nut. I was sure as I got closer, it would run away. But it just sat there eating the nut. Until I got almost to it, when it ran away. It made the assessment to eat the nut as long as possible. And no distraction was going to stop it.

During the workday, it is so easy to get distracted by things that don’t matter instead of focusing on the things that do. How do you make sure you are focused on the things that matter?

more isn't always better

More isn’t always better

This year, rain came early in the Pacific Northwest. And unfortunately, that meant just as the leaves were turning, they were rapidly knocked to the ground by the wind and rain. More rain and wind, fewer days of fall colors.

We find this type of trade off in business too. Too much in one area means less in another. The trick is to find the balance of investment, people, focus, etc. that drives the best result. More isn’t always better.

fear of missing out


My dog enjoys sitting outside on the deck. But there are times she opens the door to see what is going on inside. After a game of her opening the door and me closing it, she will finally decide where she wants to be. Her preference would be to leave the door open so she can go back and forth. She might miss something.

At work, there’s a lot that happens that people don’t want to miss. A meeting where something important is discussed. A project that will have a big impact on the company. Job openings. People want to know what is going on in places they can’t see. They don’t want to miss out. How are you creating the conditions so people don’t feel like they are missing out?

who is making a bee-line for you

Who is making a bee-line for you?

There’s a gray cat that is periodically out and about. The first time he made a bee-line for me, I thought he was heading elsewhere. He wasn’t. He was headed straight for me. He rubbed up against me, purred and got a few pats. And now every time I see him, he makes a bee-line for me.

Some companies have customers that do the same. People just make a bee-line for them. They want what that company has to offer. And they are so exited about it, they tell everyone they know. How about your company? Are you so compelling people make a bee-line for you?

are you watching for the unexpected scenario to succeed?

Are you watching for the unexpected scenario to succeed?

It was a beautiful weekend after a long stretch of nonstop rain. And that meant everyone was out hiking, biking and riding through the wooded park. Going up one of the hills, two horses were coming up behind me. So, I stepped off the path to let them pass, waited for them to get up the hill a bit more, then continued up the hill. And a funny thing happened. I was actually moving faster than the horses and had to slow down. They ended up stepping off the path and let me pass.

Sometimes the scenario you don’t expect to happen is the one that plays out. That’s why it is important to watch for the early signs that show which scenario is actually working and not anchor on the one you expected to occur.

when incremental change becomes big change

How are you addressing the point when incremental change becomes overwhelming?

Every year, the days get progressively longer, until the peak daylight is reached, then they get progressively shorter. And it is funny how it feels. When the days start getting shorter, it isn’t really apparent until all of a sudden, it feels like a big change. It is dark at 5:00 or 6:00 when it was light until almost 10:00 a short time ago.

That’s how change often feels. Little things shift and go unnoticed until the accumulation feels like a big change. And the change catches everyone off guard, leaving them with an unsettled feeling. It’s easy to miss, but one of the most important things leaders should watch for. And actively address.

How are you addressing the point when incremental change becomes overwhelming?