Category Archives: Leadership

Pinch vs. Punch

The difference between a pinch and a punch is as simple as preparedness. Being prepared for obstacles and setbacks means that your business will feel a pinch, rather than a punch.

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Do you have a client(s) that makes up more than 25% of your revenue? If so, losing one would be a gut punch to your bottom line. If each client took up no more than 15%, that punch would be a pinch. Uncomfortable, but not impossible to overcome.

In the personal finances realm, this is called rainy day funds or emergency fund. In the business realm, it’s called being smart.

Action Steps:

  • Know your business and where you make your money.

  • You’ve heard the saying “hope for the best, plan for the worst.” I prefer to plan for the best, be ready for the worst.

  • Make a plan to avoid being – or move away from being – beholden to single or limited sources of revenue (clients). A golden goose is great, for a season, but being ready for the day the goose flies, is greater.

  • Be flexible and nimble.

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Why Do Organizations Move So Slowly?

Organizations move slowly because they choose to move slowly.

In most cases, moving slowly is a bad thing. Slow moving organizations are rarely proactive, and when they’re reactive, it’s typically too little too late. Additionally, they are usually unable to make adaptations or course corrections in a manner that allows for meaningful change or full implementation.

Maybe it’s the leadership that sets the example of moving slowly. Maybe it’s a long standing culture of moving slowly. Whatever the reason, it’s a choice.

What I mean by an organization “moving” is an organization’s ability to change, adapt, innovate or correct mistakes. I wrote a blog “Two Essential Components to Running a Business” and talked about being nimble and flexible:

“Nimbleness means your business is able to quickly and effectively make decisions that affect the bottom line. An employee needs to be hired (or fired); a piece of equipment needs to be ordered; a system or process needs to be changed.

Flexibility means you’re able to carry out those decisions, because making decisions and carrying them out are two different things.”

Organizations and businesses can move quickly if they want. But that’s the problem, many have made a choice to move slowly.

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They say before you start a war…

…you better know what you’re fighting for.

When you correct someone’s grammar on twitter, what are you fighting for?

What are you fighting for when you slam a business on Facebook?

When you gossip or spread rumors (and I’m great at both), what’s your war?

Twitter

Actual tweet. Possibly starting a war.

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How to Get Buy In

This morning, I’m working on building a marketing team for a church. I’ve been staring at blank emails trying to figure out how to get others to buy in, without sounding lame.

But that’s the trick right? How do you get others excited about something they might have no interest in being excited about?

The answer is something that looks you in the face every time you’re on Facebook or Twitter: transparency and authenticity. Good social media content is transparent and is written by and sounds like a human.

So, in trying to recruit a team, I’m honest about my intentions, their expected time commitment, as well as my level of enthusiasm. Additionally, I write it in my real tone of voice. Nothing made up or contrived. Just transparent and real.

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The Only Thing You Take With You

There are jobs that change you. Jobs that grow you. There are jobs that challenge your character, and play a role in defining who you are.

Then there are jobs that teach you nothing. Jobs that are jobs. You punch in, you punch out, but you never really show up.

Jobs are a crapshoot. In the end, the only thing you really take with you when you leave a job is your character.

Sure, some bosses may claim you walked on water. While others may want you to burn in… well, some bosses may not say nice things. When all that fades, when you’ve forgotten what you’ve learned because you’ve been taught so much more. When the positive reference has no meaning because it’s been replaced by three more. When the bridge is done burning. All that’s left is your character.

Whatever your character is when you leave, is the only thing you’ll have when you find your next job. If you’re the sort made of unshakable character, it won’t matter what the last boss said, because the next opportunity won’t care. The next opportunity – be it boss, a significant other, or students – will only care about what you bring with you.

“You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them.”

Malcolm S. Forbes

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Take Care…

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So, I didn’t come up with this diagram. I’ve borrowed the idea. Unfortunately, I don’t remember who originally came up with the concept. However, the idea is sound. And true.

Starting at the top, if the owner takes care of the employees, the employees will take care of the customers. In turn, the customers will take care of the company, and the company will take care of the owner.

Occasionally, what happens is that the owner will just take care of the customers or the company, effectively turning his back on the employees. Often, this happens because the owner doesn’t (or most likely won’t) trust his team. There is no quicker way to disenfranchise your employees than to turn your back on them.

If you don’t trust your team, and if you’re being honest, that means you really don’t trust yourself. Otherwise you would trust your ability to put a great team together. You would be able to delegate responsibilities knowing they’d be managed effectively. Your focus would stay on managing, mentoring, building, growing and, more importantly, leading your team.

Focus on building a company that follows this cycle and you’ll create a happier team, a happier company, and happier customers.

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The Rise (and Fall) of Heroes

Remember your childhood idol? Remember that person you looked up to more than your own parents? And remember how you wished you could grow up to be your hero? I do.

My hero was amazing. At everything. A gifted athlete and an amazing person off the field. My hero had skills and traits I wished I had. A player that seemed to defy what humans can physically accomplish. That player was dominate in a way few were before, and in a way almost none will be after. There was only one person I wanted to grow up to be like.

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Bad at being in charge

There are people out there that just plain stink at being in charge. They have business schizophrenia, always running from one idea to the next without ever giving any one idea a chance to develop. They don’t respond to emails, and if they do, they only respond to part. When they delegate, they give way too much and then expect it done in an unrealistic timeline. They put out fires and never learn to anticipate problems before they happen. That’s not the issue though. Having a bad boss, or bad management team is going to happen. The issue is how do you identify if that person is you? What are the tell-tale signs that you’re bad at being in charge?
Here’s a short list to identify if you’re bad at being in charge:
1: It’s always someone else’s fault.
2: Your company is always putting out fires. There’s no preventative measures to anticipate or manage complications.
3: Heavy turnover.
4: Dwindling sales.
5: No one returns your calls.Being in charge should be synonymous with being critical of one’s self. If you aren’t very good at being critical of yourself, maybe you aren’t good at being in charge.
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