Living With a Community Connection

What is your sense of community?

Living in a community takes on many different definitions depending upon your view. The traditional meanings include family, neighborhood, church/religion, school, organization, ethnicity, city, county, state, and country.

The news is full of serious events impacting communities of all kinds. My question today is how well connected are you to your communities?

Read More »

Honoring Memorial Day

A Special Tribute and Call to Action

This post is dedicated to the service members everywhere who made the ultimate sacrifice in the fight to preserve freedom. In the U.S. we recognize Memorial Day on the last Monday of May.

memorial-day

Memorial Day honors those who actually died in service to the country. Volunteering for the military carries with it the potential for the ultimate human sacrifice, one’s own life. The brave men and women who train and deploy are faced with the ever-present threat that they too may join the ranks of those we honor each year on Memorial Day.

The public response to veterans past and present has changed over the years. Today, I am blessed by the routine outpourings of respect and affection given to those returning from the Gulf War theater. I can recall soldiers returning from Vietnam who were not welcomed so warmly.

While public opinion may be fickle as decades pass, the undeniable truth is we all owe our freedom to those who fight and sacrifice.

I encourage anyone who is in a position of leadership to take a moment to reflect on the solemnity of this day. If you are an entrepreneur owning your own business, you should be grateful for the opportunity to operate your enterprise in a free commerce society.

Managers at all levels also carry a special burden often unrealized. I contend that we too should honor, support, and defend the ideals of freedom and equality in our respective places of work. I am speaking of the very freedoms our soldiers fight to defend.

Depending on the size of your company, your programs about diversity and equality may range from the subtle to the very formal. Nonetheless we as managers must shoulder the duties for maintaining standards of respect for our teams.

While HR programs often go to serve the masses of employees, if we, the leaders, assume greater responsibility for administering a safe, respectful workplace, the masses would be far more engaged and loyal.

Our veterans serve nobly to support and defend the rights we have. Let’s not let the workplace lose sight of that.

To my brothers and sisters in arms, thank you for your service. Words cannot express the gratitude. May God be with you.

 

Doug Thorpe’s company HeadwayExec is proud to have been recognized by the Veterans Administration as a Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB).

 

SFT: A Simple Reminder for Leadership Performance

Dr. David L. Cook is a sports performance coach and business consultant who has made the phrase “SFT” famous. Leadership performance can be reduced to these three little ideas.

You might know Dr. Cook’s name from a little book title “Seven Days in Utopia”. The book was made into a movie starring Robert Duvall and Lucas Black. The story is a fictional journey of a young aspiring golf superstar (Black) who has a colossal meltdown on the world stage of golf, suffering a series of bad choices and shots that take him to a score of 15 on the final hole of a big tournament.

Utopia

Angry and frustrated at the game that seems to have betrayed him, he wrecks his car while driving thru the scrub brush of the Texas Hill Country northwest of San Antonio. Destiny introduces him to an old cowboy (Duvall) who himself was once an aspiring golfer with a lot of growing up to do. For the next seven days, Duvall takes Black under his wing to teach him a few things about golf and, more importantly, life.

Read More »

A Brand New Leadership Tool: Grace

Are you a giver of grace?

A colleague reported to me attending a seminar and hearing a very experienced COO make a presentation about “grace management”; adding grace to your management and leadership repertoire.

This topic seldom gets mentioned in any Top 10 list of attributes for managers. I love the idea of coaching and teaching about applying grace in the business world.

GRACE is not a person or a thing. Rather, in my humble opinion, grace is a state of mind. We can’t earn it. Many feel they don’t deserve it. So, I believe that is why I have yet to find the topic of grace being spoken about in any of the management and leadership books I follow. Could there be a movement brewing? Let’s start one!

Read More »

Harness The Power of Your Mind’s Attention and Your Heart’s Affection

Two vital strengths for maximum outcome

Our spiritual leaders should guide us and inspire us. Recently, my pastor did just that by sharing a phrase that has captured my interest more than some of the other wise words from this man, Dr. John Lockhart.

The phrase was:

“Your mind’s attention and your heart’s affection”

Heart and Mind

Dr. Lockhart attributes the context to Dr. Bruce Leafblad, a seminary professor who coined the phrase to talk about a true worship experience.

Read More »

Three Simple Truths About Growth

Where is your garden?

30503940_mlBusiness leaders wanting to grow can take a simple page from the farmer’s almanac. The principles were taught in science class. For thriving growth you need fertile soil into which your roots can reach deep. You need the right amount of water and you need sunlight.

Let’s break these down into practical applications.

Fertile Soil

Where are you planted right now? I ask this both literally and figuratively. How deep is the root bed in which you are living?

Life has its way of happening right before our eyes. If you are not careful, the “busyness” of life erodes the good stuff from around us. Quality time with loved ones gives way to pressing deadlines. Sharing with close friends and family is replaced with status reports and project plans. Situational morality takes the place of core values.

Read More »

What Did You Get for Valentine’s Day?

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I was stunned to learn that over $13.2 billion, yes BILLION, gets spent on Valentine’s Day.

Between cards, candy, and roses, more than half of the population of the United States receives or gives something on this day. Wow, that is a lot of love.

16135071_sShowing someone close to you that you love them is a very tender expression. Love is one of the most powerful emotions we can demonstrate. People in all walks of life crave the need to be loved. Yet I am convinced that one of the most difficult situations for giving and receiving love involves the love we share with ourselves.

Read More »

Growing Your Business, Growing Yourself

As business owners, we are always looking for ways to grow our revenue, grow our client base, and grow our business as a whole.

Circle-of-Growth

But sometimes we get busy doing day-to-day tasks, and don’t have time or space for the things that are really going to move us forward. We find ourselves doing the same things over and over again, and of course, getting the same results.

Here’s the thing.

Growth Requires Change

Growing our business means doing things differently than we are doing them now.

And that means we have to be willing to change ourselves.

Consider that maybe it’s your own lack of growth that is holding your business back.

I’m not trying to point a finger. Only to shine a light that may illuminate some areas that could create growth for yourself, impacting your business as well as other areas of your life. There are three areas where change can be implemented to achieve growth.

Clarity

The first place to look is your own sense of clarity about where you are going, what you are doing, and even why you are doing it.

Do you have a clear vision for what you want to achieve? Does it stir your passion?

Or have you followed a path that guided you off-course? Perhaps you are no longer connected to what you are doing or where it is taking you.

Creativity

Courtesy 123rf.com/ Dmitriy Shironosov

Once you are clear about where you are going, you have to take steps to get there. In order to move forward, that means trying new things and taking risks.

When you try something new, there will inevitably be challenges and hurdles along the way that require problem-solving.

It often means creating new things and putting them out into the world, even just in the form of content and communications to share what you are doing.

Do you trust your own creative capacity? Your ability to express yourself, to take risks and to overcome any problems that arise?

The area of creativity is a key place to look for new ways to grow.

Organization

16521661_s

Growth also requires a higher level of organization. If you don’t have systems in place to support growth, you can overwhelm your structure, your technology and even yourself.

What often happens is that individuals and small businesses try to grow in just one area. But that growth stresses them out because they don’t have the systems in place to maintain it. They end up deciding they were better off being smaller and revert back to old ways.

Does this sound familiar? It’s a common pattern for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

So having organized systems in place is critical to sustaining growth.

Join The Discussion

Question: Which of these three areas is the most challenging for you right now? Which one may hold the answer to growing yourself and your business this year? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Re-posted by permission from Sarah Schwab, The Content Creation Coach, Milwaukee, WI.

Does Business Have You Chasing Your Tail?

Ever watch a cat or dog chase their tail? To be sure, it is quite humorous. The real question is when was the last time someone watched you chasing your tail?

1007076_s

As I reflect on various chapters of my life and as I hear friends and colleagues share various experiences from theirs, it strikes me that some of us are just as guilty of chasing our tail as our beloved four-legged friends.While cats and dogs literally chase their tails, we humans figuratively chase ours, and, as such, here are a few thoughts to consider.

  1. Are you running in tight, crazy spirals? The kind that feel fast, frenzied, and dizzying? It does not take long in that type of tail chasing to recognize you are, in fact, running in circles. So it becomes easy to identify the pattern and attempt to stop the cycle.
  2. The tougher challenge is those large, slow, looping circles that may actually lull you into believing you are gracefully gliding through the current chapter of your life. If you return to the same place and outcome multiple times, you are chasing your tail.
  3. Seldom in the animal kingdom will you see an older, wiser creature chasing its tail. In contrast, the human race is not immune to repeating old habits regardless of age. The truth is, we never really stop chasing our tail in one area or another until we finally agree to learn from past experience. Input from trusted friends and loving family can certainly help us break old habits, but each of us must come to our own understanding of the forces that drive us to chase our tail in the first place.
  4. It’s not wise to stick your hand into the middle of someone else’s frenzy while they are running at full speed. I did that once when one of my cats was so engrossed in chasing his tail that he seemed to have forgotten all other things. What I did not know was that the cat was intent on biting the catch as hard as he could once he found it. My hand substituted for the catch. Wow, that hurt. Yes, I stopped the cat and saved him from who knows what, but I paid a big price. As noble as trying to stop someone else’s frenzy may sound, there is a point at which outsiders must stay out of the way. It’s far easier to intercede and assist with helping someone stop a cycle in the early stages before the momentum builds.

Some kind of change is required to break the cycle.

Attempting to stop running in circles is to agree to change. Change a habit. Change an attitude. Change a belief.

That said, one of the toughest things about embracing change is getting stuck in the cycle of convincing ourselves that our past habits have been successful and, due to that success, there is no need for a change.

For many senior business execs and managers agreeing to change a business model, marketing approach, or sales delivery message is painful, almost blasphemy.

They insist on using old, stale ways to get their message across and wonder why sales have dropped or business is going to the competition. It’s change my friend. If you are one of those owners or managers who believe in operating that way, you know, saying “we’ve always done it this way”, you may just be chasing your tail.

Question: Share the ways you have discovered you have been chasing your tail? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

10 Things I learned About Life and Business from a Single Mom

I was raised as the only child of a hard working single Mom. In my formative years, she taught me so much about life and business. Truthfully, I didn’t know that’s what I was learning until the day came for me to enter the business world.

Then, moment by moment, as the tests and trials of my own career began to unfold, I realized she had done an amazing job at teaching me some very profound wisdom.

Here are Her 10 Truths:

Read More »