Tag Archive: I’ve been thinking

Thanksgiving & Going the Extra Mile

November 24th, 2017

 

I recently wrapped up the “holiday” (as they call it here) in New Zealand. Thanksgiving was our last day before heading home. With that said, I’m reminded of the meaning of Thanksgiving because the driver that picked us up from the TransAlpine train station (which is a beautiful ride through the mountains from the west coast to the east cost of New Zealand which also happens to double for the Murder on the Orient Express in the movies we learned today) went over and beyond to ensure we were taken care of and comfortable. The train arrived late so we missed our plane by a few minutes. After amazing assistance by the Air New Zealand manager, we had the last 3 seats and one standby seat on the last flight out. Our driver stayed with us and even went to the gate to see if I would get on stand by before leaving because he would take me to a hotel and arrange for everything so that we would have virtually no hassle. Talk about above and beyond! Are you going above and beyond for your colleagues, customers, suppliers and family?

I found this to be funny so I don’t care that it doesn’t really apply to my story :-). Hey, after all, in New Zealand, I’m on a different drummer anyway – sheep anyone?

 

One tip to implement this week:

Think about went over and beyond for during Thanksgiving weekend and upon your return to work. Perhaps you choose that “difficult” colleague or family member and SEARCH for something in common. Did you find something nice to say? Or just lent a helping hand and didn’t expect credit.

I hope you remembered to THANK your family for supporting you, your colleagues for making 40 hours + per week more pleasant than it would be otherwise (or, who knows, you could really love every minute of your job!), your customers for choosing you…..how about your employees for choosing you too? After all, employees can choose too. Why not be the leader everyone flocks to support?

With that said, I would like to THANK YOU for being important to me and LMA Consulting. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

And, don’t forget, there is still time.  There’s always Christmas!



My Late Aunt Marge & the Art of Conversation

October 14th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

Last week, my Aunt Marge passed away, one month shy of her 96th birthday. My dad, brother and I went to surprise her for her 90th birthday. She was so very excited to see my dad. Aunt Marge had a gift for the art of conversation and could make mundane topics seem compelling. I remember visiting my aunt and uncle over the years, and my mom was typically deep in conversation with my aunt about all sorts of family members and whatever else was going on. Since I was the only girl, I could sit and participate with them sometimes too, and it was engaging conversation. There are some people with a gift for making everything seem intriguing, and that was my aunt. Who wouldn’t benefit from having that skill?

One tip to implement this week:

Certainly, it can be a challenge to develop the gift of conversation overnight; however, you can make progress. I remember when I first started consulting – I would definitely NOT profess to be any any sort of expert; some might argue I was fairly weak in this area. After all, I was focused on achieving results for my clients and didn’t have any idea how to participate in “small talk”. I should have asked my lovely aunt for advice!

I tried a few networking groups because I knew it was a good idea but I didn’t know how to start a conversation. I distinctly remember one event where I stood around the food line because at least it was a way to not stand all by myself at a “networking event”. Fast-forward several years later and I lead all sorts of groups, am well-known throughout the area, and connect people everyday (and love it). I would have never have suspected that not only would I be able to connect people outside of my specific area of expertise but that I also would enjoy it immensely!

No matter your skill level in conversation, you can improve. Start by focusing on the other person. That alone can go a long way. Be interested. Look for ways to provide value. Find people like my aunt and pay attention to what they do and say – and how they do it. Try their techniques in your own way. Ask for feedback. And last but not least, start telling yourself that you are improving and good at conversation. I distinctly remember that I used to think I wasn’t a good networker until one day when I read or heard advice to stop that. So, I started saying I was good at networking, and it became true. You’ll believe what you tell yourself! I am no ‘Aunt Marge’ yet, but I have my own style.

 



I’ve Been Thinking about Competition – Or Are They?

October 6th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

Last week, Kash Gokli (Professor of Manufacturing Practice and Director of the Engineering Clinic at Harvey Mudd) and I led our most recent Harvey Mudd Executive Roundtable on the topic of competition. We created these roundtables to bring Southern California executives together to network and discuss timely topics for organization success. We had a fascinating discussion about two general themes: How to develop a strategy to make you stand out from the crowd so you have no competition AND how to collaborate with your competition for win-win success. In today’s Amazon-impacted, competitive world, it is wise to be thinking about your closest business challengers unless you want to be left in the dust.

Harvey Mudd Executive Roundtable Attendees

One tip to implement this week:

Let’s start by making sure you know your competition. Certainly, as an executive, you’ll be aware of your competitors. The key question is most likely: Could your teams identify the key players? Which competitors are most prevalent in your industry? Now for the clincher – how well can you and your organization describe how you stack up vs. your competition? Start here and really drill down to the details.

Next, let’s move on beyond understanding the competition. Do you understand your vision and whether you are fighting it out on a weekly basis? Or do you have a strategy for how to distinguish yourselves from other businesses such that for all intents and purposes, you have no competition? It’s easier said than done but definitely worth considering.

And let’s not forget collaboration. Almost every attendee could come up with an example of how they were collaborating with a competitor for the “right” situation at the “right” time. Can you find ways to collaborate for win-win success? It might just pay to remember that your relationship network is one of your most valuable assets.

If you liked this article, read more about the importance of cultivating business relationships.

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My ProVisors Ontario Group’s 5 Year Anniversary and Amazing Business Connections

October 2nd, 2017

I've Been Thinking

I am the Group Leader for the ProVisors (a top notch group of trusted advisors to business executives and owners) Ontario. Last week, we celebrated our 5 year anniversary – aren’t we a sharp-looking group! HUNDREDS of referrals and business connections later, we continue to be quite successful and have increased the value we provide to our collective clients. I know my clients have benefited.

Provisors Ontario

When I joined ProVisors as a member, I truly had no idea how I would provide introductions and facilitate connections to some of the members. Their professions just didn’t seem to arise much in my consulting profession. Fast-forward seven years and I LOVE to be able to connect people. I can’t remember the last time I received even the most obscure request where I couldn’t find someone, who knows someone, to meet the need. Talk about the value of connections!

One tip to implement this week: 

Take stock of your connections. Start by making a simple list of the people you know. Think about everyone: alumni connections, trade association connections, work connections, personal life connections, service providers etc. I bet you know more people than you realize. If your list feels light, make a concerted effort to meet a one or two people this week and get to know them professionally and add them to your circle.

Next, look for a way to provide value to five of your most valued connections – perhaps one a day. At a minimum, pick up the phone and give them a call. That will spur ideas on how to create value or, perhaps, you’ll have an idea right on the spot during the phone call. Often, the simple act of the phone call demonstrates that you care and goes a long way. Do the same thing the following week. I bet you’ll be surprised how it evolves! Keep me posted and tell me about your networking successes.

 

Read more about the benefits of quality business relationships.

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Styx and the Power of Positivity and Enjoying Your Career

September 27th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

Last week, I attended a Styx concert at the L.A. Fair – what a powerful event! The band has been around for 45 years and still enjoys singing together! It was totally apparent watching the concert. They really took the positive spin on their commentary and truly enjoyed singing their classics such as my favorite, “Come Sail Away”. Since I started on a quest to see some of the “greats” while they were still singing over the last few years, I have some performances to compare. Thus, it is obvious that although all of the classics sang their greatest hits, Styx stood out in enjoying their greatest hits. What a difference loving your job can make! Take a look at the grand finale…

Styx in Concert at the L.A. Fair

Styx in Concert at the L.A. Fair – the grand finale!

One tip to implement this week: 

Why not take a positive attitude to your job or career – after all, you probably spend more time doing that than anything else! Try putting a positive spin on whatever happens this week at work and see what happens. You might find that it is a lot more enjoyable. You also might find that there are some interesting people you hadn’t really noticed before. Take a genuine interest and let me know how it goes. If it still happens to be miserable, perhaps you should get out. No job is worth misery!

One way to seek out positivity: “catching your colleagues doing something right”. Recognize them. Beyond your colleagues, perhaps look for where your manager or boss or a board member has gone out of his/her way to make a situation better. Appreciate it. Now for the hardest of all – look for where your most annoying team members (no matter their position) are doing something right. I wouldn’t be surprised if 80% of us have a much better week this week after this exercise! Let me know in the comments.

Read more about promoting a positive work culture…

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