Build A Bridge To Tomorrow

This pandemic has many of us remembering the shock and response to 9/11: both unforeseen events have changed the way things happen in our world.

Barbara Corcoran, millionaire real estate broker and Shark Tank star learned a few lessons after nearly going broke after 9/11.  “When things go south, they often come back like gangbusters.

MARCH ANSWER TO THE QUESTION OF THE MONTH: If there was a downturn in the economy, what 3 things in your business could be eliminated and your company would still run effectively?

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If there was a downturn in the economy, what 3 things in your business could be eliminated and your company would still run effectively?

First I’d mentally get my head in the game. My role is to find positives to share with my clients.  People can quickly go from having a “It’s not so bad” mindset to it’s all “gloom & doom”.

A downturn is good for most companies.  There’s a lot of fat and money spent without thinking much about it.  A downturn helps get costs in control.

 

  • I’d cut some R&D projects that don’t provide immediate growth.
  • Reduce inventory – went down from 8 weeks to 30 days
  • Eliminate outside travel (trade shows) Bring webinars inhouse

 

  • Get everyone together to cut expenses; push control down to the lowest level. 
  • Make it fun and make sure you give praise.  It’s amazing what people will do when you let them.
  • You can always save a dime, no matter what.

 

  • Hold on to cash
  • Take a careful look at the money we spend on donuts for clients and cash donations for local organizations.
  • Buy crappy toilet paper – hey, you’re fighting nickels and dimes here!

Be Steady

My nephew Charlie is 28, smart as a whip and autistic.  He lives with his brother James.  When life throws him a curve-ball and his schedule is disrupted, he becomes agitated, out of sorts and hard to communicate with.  Last week, the family returned from a long-anticipated vacation.  They have had to self-quarantine.  Charlie is consumed with worry about the situation.  James is good at reading Charlie and during these times he calmly and quietly tells him, “Charlie, be steady.”  While things still may not be right in his world, Charlie trusts that James will explain what he cannot understand.

Be a Better Boss by Fostering Positive Relationships in Your Workplace

In an article for Lifehack.com,  Ben Fanning writes: “One boss might be a godsend for one employee and then an absolute nightmare for another. Your “better boss” classification is always based on opinion, so it’s never the absolute truth.”  Better boss or not?  It’s a matter of perspective.

 

Becoming a good boss means keeping direct, honest open lines of communication between management and front-line employees.  If employees feel they cannot discuss a grievance or issue with their supervisor, resentment, frustration and miscommunication fester.

 

Strive to keep an open and honest relationship with your employees, fostering a sense of community in your workplace.

 

Turn Weaknesses into Opportunities

If an employee is having a hard time with a project, it’s easy to delegate the task to another employee. The boss may end up projecting what they’d like to see out of an employee instead of truly identifying their strengths.  They miss out onr using a perceived failure as an opportunity for growth and learning.

 

A good manager will help that employee work through the issue.  Not only will this help grow your team as individuals and experts, but your employees will feel more appreciated and valued in their roles.

 

Schedule One-On-One Meetings

Holding one-on-one meetings only when there is a major problem results in employees dreading any discussion with their manager.  They become defensive and unable to discuss possible resolutions openly.  Some supervisors have the best intentions to host a lunch session with a different employee each week or to schedule regular one-on-one meetings, but their schedule has other plans.

 

Scheduling private one-on-one meetings with your employees provides the opportunity to exchange serious feedback in a setting that is more relaxed and informal.  Your first few meetings might be a little awkward, but as they continue, you’ll form a deeper connection and more meaningful communication with your employees.

 

Create Wins

It’s about more than just congratulating your employees when they do well or reach achievements. Creating wins gives you the opportunity to show your appreciation and an opportunity for your employees to pat themselves on the back without feeling awkward or smug. When you model an environment of appreciation in your workspace, you’ll see it reflected in how your employees treat others. It creates a ripple effect through the entire business.

 

Building trust and open communication will encourage employees to contribute ideas to improve your company.  It makes for a healthy atmosphere and improves the bottom line!

 

Are You On A Knife Edge?

Recently, I heard an entrepreneur use a term I had not heard before: She said she felt like she was on a knife-edge as she was growing her business.

knife edge is a situation where nobody knows whether something good or bad is going to happen next.  The company could fail at any moment.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us find ourselves in this dilemma.  A plethora of information is available right now.  Here are a few commonsense suggestions to weather out this storm.

Stay calm

The fear of the unknown we are facing every day may be worse than the virus itself.  Hoarding hand sanitizer, toilet paper and such is a fear-based reaction.  Stay calm.  We’ll get through this and will probably be in better shape than the doom and gloom networks will have you believe.  Meditate, pray, share with friends and loved ones.  Whatever works best to help you keep calm.

Go on a news diet

The news gives you three options: gloom, gloomier, gloomiest.  You will find a positive nugget thrown in occasionally, but the 24-hour news cycle pounds you with negativity.  The situation isn’t going to change in the next few hours so turn off your TV and streaming device.  I suggest limiting yourself to 30 minutes of news a day during this time.

Be Kind

Do what you can do to help those less fortunate than you.  Adopt a shelter dog, feed the homeless, volunteer for Meals on Wheels.  Whatever you feel moved to do to help others goes a long way.  Spend more time with your loved ones.   Make your choice and act on it.

Sharpen the saw

If you have more downtime than usual, make good use of it.  Find a great book on a topic that would be of value in your business or in your personal life.  Take advantage of the slower pace to read, plan and execute.

Have some fun

Watch a comedy or a thriller.  Go on a hike.  Get out into nature and let it soothe you.  Turn up the music and dance around your living room.

Follow these suggestions, look for the positives and hopefully the Knife Edge won’t be such a scary place.

The road is easier together,

Spend Your Time On Things That Matter Most

In Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey tells the story of his wife chairing an important hospital fundraiser.  Combining a busy family and chairing the committee were overwhelming her.  She started calling her friends to help.  Her best friend listened to her request and replied, “I’d love to help you out, but I promised my family that I wouldn’t take on anything else right now.  Thanks for asking, though”.  Covey’s wife looked at her husband and said, “I wish I’d have said that when they asked me.”

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The Middle is Uncomfortable

Joe’s company was in dire need of a marketing director.  With several new products to be launched, marketing was a bottleneck.  The CFO, Sandy, recommended that Joe consider her friend Lisa.

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FEBRUARY ANSWER TO THE QUESTION OF THE MONTH: Describe your most successful technique for getting customers.

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Describe your most successful technique for getting customers.

  • Google ad words and putting the right amount of money in at the right time.  I have a phenomenal person who does the right things.  I’ve also found that if I keep out of it and don’t try to do it myself, I’m money ahead.
  • Branding, we play in a space that is very competitive.  We provide our clients useful information and work to insure we continue to add value. We’re not about logo stuff but more about services and information.  Credibility and visibility is huge – especially during times of change.
  • Giving it away – answering questions when people have them, taking a second look at what they have with no strings attached.  There’s still a technique there because there you can’t dump everything and answer questions.  You still have to keep your current customers happy.  We usually try to keep our response to 15-30 minutes and offer specific answers.  People remember.
  • Ask!  Doing lunch dates and educational seminars.  It results in conversations that sometimes results in business.

 

 

Hey Boss, I Have Cancer

John ran a busy manufacturing company.  One day his bookkeeper came into his office, closed the door, took a deep breath and said, “I’ve just been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.”

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How to Say Goodbye

After many years and thousands of dollars in services, Marie’s favorite stylist retired from XYZ Salon. Marie tried unsuccessfully to find another stylist that made her look and feel as good as her previous one had but to no avail. Frustrated, she scheduled an appointment at a different salon. She was thrilled with the results.

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