Posts By Laurel

Everybody Wins

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Everybody Wins

People in powerful positions often get a bad image because they make changes that benefit only a few. They give the job to their cousin. They give the playoff tickets to their children. They keep the spoils of their power to themselves.

Imagine how much better it would be if power engendered an “everybody wins” rule. Years ago, I was asked to start a new department in a big corporation. The leaders gave me 9 staff members. One of those people, let’s call her Evelyn, thought that SHE should have had my job. In the first two weeks I could see that her disappointment was going to undermine the feeling that the group had about working with me. I quietly went to other departments with Evelyn’s resume to see if I could find her a better job, with higher compensation. I found one and I asked the hiring manager to reach out to Evelyn without ever telling her that I asked him to. Evelyn went for the interview and came back to tell me that she got a better job!! She let me know that she was LEAVING and that I would not have her expertise because she still believed she should have had my job. I congratulated her and over the years I watched from afar how she did extremely well in the role she moved to. She never knew my involvement. The rest of the team bonded with me because the tension Evelyn had created was gone and our department began to flourish. Everybody wins.

I was in a position of power. I could have let her go for creating roadblocks for progress. I could have made it unpleasant for her so she’d quit. Instead I used my influence to make everybody feel that they had gained something.

So when you begin to plan a strategy, make sure everybody wins.

Baby Steps

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Baby Steps

When you look at that pile of papers to be filed, of if you look at the to-do list of 84 things to be done, or the 35 pounds you gained in the last few years, the end of the tunnel seems far away. What we do first, is think about how much time it might take to get it done and it might overwhelm us. It might take me all morning to go through those papers. It’ll take me the whole weekend to get the 84 things done (or even just started). And the 35 pounds aren’t dropping off in possibly less than a year if we do it in a healthy way. The end is not in sight so we don’t even start.

However, every time you pass your desk and see the pile, the sight of it zaps a teeny bit of your energy just knowing it’s there. And when you open your task list to add yet another thing, the original 84 bring on another energy zap. And when we take out that little black dress and it feels snug, even though it’s only been in the closet for 6 months, we feel bad about it. Zap again!!!

Baby Steps That’s the answer. Tell yourself you’re only going to put ONE piece of paper in that pile away. Go do it. It’s just one piece. And it’ll take only 2 minutes. And then you can choose just one task on that list. Or may do 5 so it goes under 80 for the first time in months. And then maybe when you go to add another task, you really won’t want it to let go over 80 again, so maybe you’ll do two more. And when you go downstairs to make coffee, maybe you’ll chose 1% milk instead of the half-and-half you’ve been using. It’s a start.

The long term, time-consuming ideas we envision seem impossible. By taking baby steps the piles go down gradually. The task list gets more approachable. And hey, you might be able to zip up that zipper in a couple of weeks.

How to Solve a Problem Solver?

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How to Solve a Problem Solver?

I recently asked a client, “What do you do best?” He said, proudly. “I am a fantastic problem solver.”

I cringed. I really have the hardest time working with “Problem Solvers.” Because when there are no problems to solve they don’t know what to do to grow their business. They don’t know how to change. They don’t know how to increase revenue. But give them a crisis or an issue and they hit the ground running. They NEED problems and issues to feel productive.

What they need to be is Problem Preventers. They need to cross the line and make things work so well that the problems are ameliorated before they start or before they become problems. They need to set things up so that the processes run well. That the issues are thought through before they happen, so they never become problems that need solving.

Are you a problem solver? Do you know how to become a problem preventer? One woman I worked with who was the Queen of Problem Solving discovered that in her personal life she prevented problem. The example she proudly used was how well she baby-proofed her house. Her toddler couldn’t get hurt or poisoned if he tried. So we took all the pre-thinking skills she had when she did that, and aligned it with her business process, and she was able to problem-proof her company.

The Values of Being First

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The Values of Being First

I was in a room full of 45 people and the leader suggested that we introduce ourselves. She said, “Limit it to 2 minutes or less.” Was she kidding? Even if those people really respected the two-minute rule, that meant 90 minutes of listening to names, ranks and why I’m the best at what I do. And yet we all want to tell everyone in the room who we are and why we’re there.

I personally love to be the first to speak. That way, I can really listen to everyone else because I’m not preparing my two minutes over and over in my head. And I TELL everyone I like to go first. In fact I always try to sit in the seat that might give me that opportunity. I’m already prepared. I prepared in the car before I even got there. When I tell everyone the reason why I like to go first, they all stop their own in-their-head preparation for a second to laugh, because they knew they were already doing it. And guess what?! They remember me. They might not remember my name. They might not remember what I do. But they remember they saw their own behavior. And they connect it to ME! They remember ME. That’s the purpose of the two-minute introductions.

And by the way. It was never called the elevator speech. It was designed for SALES people and the original person who named it called it the elevator PITCH. The shortest way to tell a prospective buyer about what they had to sell. Some HR genius changed it to the elevator SPEECH and we’ve been shackled to that stupid concept ever since. So next time, either be first OR tell them something they will connect to YOU even if it isn’t about your name or what you do. And finally, don’t be remembered as the one who went over two minutes.

Meet and Great? I’d Rather Stay Home

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Meet and Great? I’d Rather Stay Home

Business leaders and small business owners know that networking is necessary for their business. At times it feels like there are almost more reasons to stay home than get out there.

  • I’m too tired.
  • Last time I didn’t meet anyone who might recommend me or use my services or product.
  • It’s costing me so much money.

I’m sure you could add your own reasons to the list. But choosing the right venues is almost as important as showing up. We all know that we’re not just meeting the person who hands us the card. We’re meeting the person who has 250 people of more in their contact list. And if they like us, and if they remember us, they might SOMEDAY refer us. Here are the questions to ask yourself about the event to make it worthwhile:

  • Will I meet at least two new people who might need my product or service?
  • Will I learn something from the theme or the speaker?
  • Will there be an opportunity to find out what other people need?
  • Is there going to be an easy way to follow-up or follow through with the organization in order to see some of the same people again?
  • Will my competition be there so I can learn what they’re doing or not doing?

If you’ve answered yes to any one of these questions, or if you have questions of your own that point you to the venue, take out your keys, get in your car and show up. Be sure to keep the number of people you get to know to a small number. And have a nice time.