Leadership Development

This year we’re taking time to really focus on leadership in both business and life.  One thing I’m passionate about is making sure that we all do our part to raise up the next group of leaders.  Recently I read this article by John Maxwell about leadership development and thought we could talk about his 3 points today.  John says that there are 3 main ways to influence or impact leaders: environment, equipping and exposure. What does this mean for you, and what role do you have in developing leaders?

1-you are responsible to develop leaders, no matter who you are or what business you’re in.  A blog is just one easy way for any industry to help teach and train the next generation, as well as build exposure-you don’t have to teach a class or train your successor to develop a leader.  And you don’t have to be in business to have a blog and help the next generation become leaders-anyone can do it.

2-your environment not only impacts the people you work with or train, it also impacts you.  If you’ve got an environment in your business that encourages growth, learning and improvement, you’re going in the right direction.

3-being equipped with technology, tools, and education isn’t just about helping create leaders, it’s about running a good business.  If you’re without the technology, tools and education, you’re potentially missing out on impacting your clients in a big way.

4-exposure is just the starting point.  What business doesn’t want to be exposed to more clients?  But not all businesses want to be exposed to new and sometimes challenging things and ideas-yet it’s what helps us be clear about who we are and what we do.

All that said, most businesses and people should be actively pursuing leadership development.  We’ve got a ton of problems in the world right now, and they won’t all be fixed in your or my lifetime, which is why it’s essential to start training the next generation to be the leaders we need.  What do you do to help raise up the next generation of thinkers and leaders?

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Family Fun in the Backyard

The last week of May is National Backyard Games week.  For families, it’s a great time to get out, throw a ball around and enjoy each other!  Here are some of my favorite games and activities to get your party started.

Scavenger hunt

Bug races

Create chalk worlds

Kick the can

Mini Olympics

Bocce

Tag

Ghost in the graveyard

Baseball

Tag football

Water balloon wars

Kickball

What about you?  What are your favorite outdoor games, either those you play now or played as a kid?  Share your ideas below.

Progress Check

It’s been a busy couple of months for me, I hope you have had similar success. I subscribe to a bunch of inspirational and business related newsletters, as you probably do too.  One of the people I follow is Dr. Dan Reiland, today’s thoughts are inspired by one of his recent articles.  Here are 10 good questions to evaluate your business.

1. In what ways is the unique culture of your business helping you make progress? (Why do the specifics of what you do help you make progress in your business and with your clients?)

2. Are you developing new leaders and how are you doing that?

3. What are the financial indicators telling you?

4. When you think of the majority of your leaders, what impression comes to mind?

5. How would you describe the overall morale of your business?

6. Are you on mission? (Are you accomplishing what you set out to do?)

7. Do your clients enthusiastically invite others to work or connect with you?

8. Are you growing personally and professionally?

9. Are you seeing results in your client’s lives and businesses?

10. What will you change/keep/do in the future?

As Dr. Dan Reiland said, it’s not just about reading the questions, it’s about responding and taking action in response to your answers.  What things have these questions revealed to you about your business?

Restful, Organized Rooms

May 10th was national clean up your room day.  As a home organizer I get asked all the time “where do we start?!”  Here are my top 5 starting points:

1-clean out!  You can’t keep buying stuff and expect that there will be room for it all, no matter how big your house or closet is.  I suggest that every spring or fall, whenever you get that “cleaning bug”, you take a couple of minutes (or an hour) to immediately get rid of stuff you don’t like or doesn’t fit, and “mark,” either with a label or special hanger, items that you don’t think you like but aren’t ready to get rid of.  If a year later they’re still on that special hanger and you haven’t worn them, it’s a pretty safe bet you can get rid of them.

2-get it off the floor.  I’m absolutely guilty of missing the hamper some days and feeling too lazy to pick it up.  That said, I do have a hamper that’s easily accessible and room for all my clothes in my closet.  If you’ve got clothes all over the floor or your room, either your storage system isn’t effective or, back to suggestion 1, you’ve got too much stuff.

3-get an organization system.  Even if you don’t want to invest in a professionally designed organization system yet, until you’re ready you can buy boxes, drawers and shelving to help yourself organize what you have.

4-get your kids (and partners) involved.  Make it easy for them to do their part.  Have boxes and storage at a good level for your kids with pictures on the outside so they know what goes where.  Also get them a hamper so they can put their dirty clothes in there.  For your partner, simple laminated labels or sticky notes can help direct the clean up on a regular basis.

5-do it often.  If you clean up your room once a year, and don’t have a family or kids, that’s probably ok.  But if you’ve got a partner or kids, you’ll want to do it monthly if not weekly so it doesn’t get completely overwhelming.

As they always say, the first step to resolving a problem is admitting you have one. What do you struggle with in getting your home organized?

Trust in Business

Each month I like to work and write around a theme.  This month’s theme is trust.  As a business owner one of the things you’re trying to do is get people to trust you enough to listen to you and then to buy from you.  Once you’ve got them to trust you and make that first sale, depending on whether they feel their trust was validated or not, they’ll consider buying from you again and referring you to their friends.  So what can we, as business owners, do to help build that trust?

1-be available.  If you don’t have multiple ways for people to contact you on your website (or don’t have a website!), you’re missing out on a chance to build trust.  Include a phone number, email address and contact form on your website.

2-be consistent.  If you find yourself blogging and on Twitter, Facebook  just once a week, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities to connect with people and build a relationship with them.  I recommend posting inspiring and helpful content daily on Facebook, posting content on Twitter several times a day, and blogging at least once a week, not to mention the time you should spend on Facebook and Twitter connecting with other people and businesses.  I also suggest that you send out a weekly newsletter.  Depending on who you’re building a relationship with they may only subscribe to your newsletter or connect with you on Twitter.

3-promise what you can deliver.  If you don’t think you can improve someone’s sales to be over $1 million, don’t say that you can!  If you know you can do $50 thousand, it’s better to do that and over deliver whenever possible.

4-be open.  The shady people of the world don’t exactly ooze trust.  If you want people to trust you, you don’t have to be a naked book, just an open one.

What do you do to help build trust in business?

Free to Be Mom

Sunday is Mother’s Day!  It’s a great opportunity to recognize the motherly figures in your life who have made a difference.  It can also be a tough day for mothers who don’t feel so, for lack of  better words, successful.  If you’re feeling a little down, join me for a little chat.

First, allow yourself to accept that no mother is perfect.  It’s not easy to accept that you don’t have to be perfect, but you don’t.  The world may trick you into thinking that you have to live up to some perfect TV mother image, but the truth is that you don’t.  You’re only human and allowed to make some mistakes.

Second, know that you’ve done the best you know how so far.  Yes, you could sit and nitpick all the things you did wrong, but that would ruin the chance that you’ve still got to be a great mother.

Third, it’s ok to be a mother who has rules and grounds kids.  Yes, that’s technically in your job description.  It’s a big opportunity to be able to help raise a child (of any age), and part of that opportunity is helping them know what’s good and what’s not so good in life.  Yes, there will be moments that they have to try things out and learn for themselves, but if you’ve shared some good insights along the way they should come out ok.

Fourth, welcome the future.  You’ve still got some time to make a difference as a mom or mom figure in someone’s life.  You can still learn how to be a better person.  You may even be blessed enough to repair any relationships that haven’t gone as well as you would have liked.

Mother’s Day is as much an opportunity for kids to appreciate their mothers as it is for mothers to accept a new lease on motherhood.  Mother’s Day is celebrated one day a year but there are 364 other days that you can do good, learn from (and change) your mistakes and make a difference.

Picking Pricing

Last week we talked about how important it is to know about the people you’re marketing to.  Some would say that a more important topic is knowing at what price that group of people will be willing to buy what you’re marketing.  I have to admit that knowing and picking a price that actually works for you is challenging!  There are tons of factors to consider, so today I’ll cover just a few things and I invite you to share your thoughts and challenges in the comments below.

1-you have to be able to pay your bills:

This is what differentiates you between running a business and having a hobby.  If you’re actually able to pay your bills and have (even just a tiny bit of) money left at the end of the month you’re probably doing something right with your pricing (or you’re working way too hard).

2-it has to be a fair price for the service or product:

If you’re asking me to pay $100 for a bottle of water, it had better come from the fountain of youth!  But if you’re asking me to pay only $20 for an hour of counseling, I might wonder why you (a certified counselor) is only charging $20.  The price should reflect quality, quantity, your experience, and to some extent the time involved.

3-figuring out your prices:

First determine how much money you need to make each month to pay your bills, feed your family, and a little cushion.   That cushion is not $10,000 vacations or buying a second home, but we are including some “emergency fund” money to take care of surprises.  Then determine how many hours you can reasonably work in a month.  Let’s say you need $10,000 per month for your bills, and can work 40 hours a week or 160 a month.  This would mean your hourly rate would be $62.50. Not charging by the hour is another conversation entirely.

What lessons have you learned about prices?

 

Trust in Families

This month’s theme is trust!  It’s a topic that’s a sore spot for many families and couples, yet it’s an important topic that through our conversations, tweets, posts and messaging I hope we’ll be able to rebuild.

“The chief lesson I have learned in a long life is that the only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him; and the surest way to make him untrustworthy is to distrust him and show your distrust.” Henry L. Stimson

There’s a fine line between trusting your kids and your partner and not having rules, so if you’re looking to build trust, here are a few things to help you get started:

1. Consistency

2. Punctuality

3. Flexibility

4. Eye Contact

5. Discretion

6. Transparency

7. Competence

8. Face Time

Notice what most things here have to do with building trust?  They have to do with your time!  The more time you’re able to spend with someone (face time), the more to your word you are when you’re with them (punctuality), more you look at them (eye contact), and the more consistency your time together has (consistency), the more likely you’ll be to build trust.  This is especially true with intimate and family relationships.

Let’s start this month by being honest: what trust challenges do you have?  What don’t you trust your kids/partner/self with?  I invite you to share your trust tests below, because it will help you be more open to becoming more trusting and it may help someone else come to grips with their trust struggles.

Do You Know Your Market?

As I work with people on their businesses each week I’m amazed by some of the things I see.  This week I worked with an individual who had an amazing creative talent, but had absolutely no clue about marketing or business.  So I thought it would be a good reminder for all of us to discuss why knowing your market is so important.

1-knowing their likes and interests help you connect with them. 

-building a relationship with them is the quickest way to making someone a repeat customer

-your marketing won’t be on target unless you know about them

-just because you know the other people in your industry, doesn’t mean you know about your customer.

-you can consider sharing additional products or services that would also benefit them

2-knowing what they like helps you build affiliate and joint venture relationships. 

-this means more money for you!

-this also means recommendations on great products that your customers would like given they’re buying from you.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help determine who is in your market:

1-what do they like?

2-what problems do they have?

3-what problem,  issue, concern or want does my product/service satisfy?

Who is your market?  Share your target market, and any suggestions you have for getting to know your market below.