3 Cancers That WILL Kill Your Business

  You watch your personal health for signs of sickness – checking your blood pressure, having a blood test, getting check ups, etc., but are you able to ‘diagnose’ threats to the health of your business? To make it simple, let’s focus on the three main cancers that can kill your business, or at the least rob it of its vitality. If you want to consider this for your personal life and not your business, these are the three things that can rob you of your personal vitality and joy. Resentments: these are judgements you hold against others. Your employee might resent, for instance, having to ask for permission to leave an hour early to go to the dentist when you, the owner, come and go as you please. They may resent you deciding what they will do with their time and energy while they’re at work. This resentment can come in many forms, and sometimes its an attitude they’re carrying through life. They’ve set up a filter of what ‘authority’ looks like in a chain of resentment from parents, teachers, government and bosses. It’s a silent killer that festers anytime you give instruction or even constructive criticism to all but your ‘healthiest’ employees. Regret: this is what someone will hold against themselves, for not saying or doing something, for a mistake, for saying yes when they wanted to say no, for opportunities missed. These are the things that repeat over and over again in their minds, like an endless loop that starts playing any time things are either going really badly or really well and include a lot...
Transforming Anger

Transforming Anger

I have clients who are angry, disappointed, frustrated, and a host of other negative emotions. They seem to think that things won’t get better and, in a way, perpetuate the condition, including fanning the “flames” of employee malaise. I want them to be able to use the energy, but not spread negativity, so my invitation to them is to transform it. Transforming looks like this: Anger becomes Passion. It’s a flip of the coin, actually, so that you share your passion for results with others without “landing” your negative energy on them or the situation. Ask them if they are at stake in getting a result and what they’re willing to do to get it done. Invite them to brainstorm, set goals and dream big with you. Disappointment becomes Accountability. Let people set their own deliverables and “by when’. Then hold them accountable by asking them if they hit their goals. If they DON’T hit their goals, ask them if they want to re-align, if they need help, what’s missing, etc. and get at stake with them creating a win for themselves. Frustration becomes Desire. State a problem and ask for help. For instance, it seems we’re always shipping product the “week of” rather than “day of” and I don’t know how to shift that in our culture. Can anyone suggest how we can ship sooner? Impatience becomes urgency and so on. You’ll see that this is not just a “nice idea” but it’s also a way to get more done. The energy it takes to remain angry or the energy drain of disappointment can’t be maintained for long....
Say Anything, but Say it THIS Way

Say Anything, but Say it THIS Way

I’ve covered this before but it’s such a simple formula and it works so well that I want to offer it again. I do this in hopes that all of you can see for yourself how much easier it can be to say anything, even have a difficult conversation, and decide for yourselves the benefits of more honesty in all of your communications. This is a tried and true formula for having difficult conversations and it is easy to remember so, instead of harboring resentment, fostering regret, swallowing anger- just use this tool. State the problem. What’s wrong? What is upsetting you? State your commitment. Our commitment is what helps us get through tough times, no matter what. Ask for input. There’s always two sides to every issue. Practice deep listening and let the other person speak until they’re done. Create a solution. Now that you’ve shared both sides of the issue, what agreement can you come to that will work going forward and allow you to let go of the past. There wasn’t originally a number 5, but if there was, it would be to set up a system to actually follow up on the solution, change the behaviors, honor the agreements, etc. Just talking isn’t enough and you do need to follow up on what you both said. Here’s how it worked a few years back: Problem: “For the past few weeks you’ve been coming into work 10-15 minutes late and the other employees are noticing. It’s not fair to the rest of the staff and it’s a bad trend in general.” Commitment: “You’re a valued employee...
Taking Stock

Taking Stock

Last week my wife, Riv, and I had our 17th wedding anniversary. One of our gifts to each other is a box in which to keep our ticket stubs, receipts, mementos and little reminders of the coming year. Next year, on our anniversary, we’ll open the box and review the way we spent our time. Having these reminders will help us “take stock,” slow down and review our life events. It helps us to appreciate what we’ve accomplished and increase our personal satisfaction with our life’s progress. For managers, business owners, leaders of any kind, I suggest doing something like this, but on a daily basis. My inspiration comes from “From Values to Action, The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership” by Harry M. Kraemer. One of the principles Harry mentions that help us know ourselves better is “Self Reflection.” One practice of self reflection that Harry practices is at the end of each day he asks himself: “What did I say I was going to do today, and what did I actually do? If what I did was different from what I planned, what were the reasons? What went well, and what did not? How did I treat people? Am I proud of the way I lived this day? If I had the day to live over again, what would I do differently? And finally, “What did I learn today that will have an impact on how I live the next day, the next week, and going forward?” I’ve been using this practice for the last few days and find it valuable. Of course you can add or change the questions...