Tuesday, December 15, 2009

When Big Isn't Big Enough

Picture your drive way with 80,000 rubber squids dropped on the driveway by a delivery truck the size of Kentucky. How would you move them all?

Let me introduce you to Steve Spangler a science aficionado. He loves to share the fun of science with teachers and kids around the world. He creates experiments that explode and makes science an art to be explored. Check him out at stevespanglerscience.com.

Steve is a good example of how thinking small but pushed to big gets awesome results. See Steve decided to create some small rubber squids for his science activity SQUIDYtm. He set about to get a mold made and when told he had to buy in quantity, he agreed. For after all, how hard could it be to sell 500 of them?

What he didn't expect was 80,000 of them dropped at his driveway with a $20,000 price tag to be paid in 30 days.

This "error" forced Steve to think far bigger than he originally planned. Today his experiments are in 1,000 stores and over 20,000 educational catalogs worldwide.

All because Steve couldn't "afford" to sit on this quantity. He needed to make money fast so he could pay the $20,000 invoice.

When do you think too small? In what ways are you trying to play it safe and be in the 500 quantity range rather than in the 80,000 Oh-my-gosh-what-are-we-going-to-do range?

Live large rather than just playing safe!

Anne Warfield
More on becoming innovative by Anne Warfield

Meaning to Be Happy or Happy to have Meaning

There is an old proverb that has a couple traveling to a new town. Halfway they find an old man and they ask him what the next village is like. He says, "what was your last village like?" They respond, "It was awful. The neighbors were rude." He responds, "You will find the same thing in the next village."

A few hours later another couple comes upon the old man. They two are traveling to the same town as the previous couple. They ask the man what the next village is like. He says, "What was your last village like?" They respond, "it was wonderful. We hated to leave the love and friendship of all our neighbors." He says, "You will find the same thing in the next village."

The proverb was to show us that the village contains what we bring to it- you bring misery and you will get misery; you bring joy and you will get joy.

Marshall and Kelly Goldsmith just did a study on happiness and meaning and they found that happiness and meaning has more to do with WHO you are rather than WHERE you are.

So gone are the excuses and the blaming. Instead you need to look in the mirror and own the baggage you are carrying with you.

They found the number of hours being worked and even the quality of the work didn't have bearing on the happiness. What did was the meaning the employees gave the work they did.

Another interesting point was those that were happy at work were generally happy at home and those that were miserable at work were generally miserable at home as well.

So, think of yourself, like a snail. You carry your entire world with you each day. If you want it to be happy and to have meaning, look no further than inside your own shell!

Anne Warfield

More on developing leadership by Anne Warfield

Fall from Grace

Celebrity scandals abound and even if you don't like gossip you can't help but be inundated by news of the latest scandal.

The latest fall from grace, of course, is Tiger Woods. Think of all the years Tiger Woods has spent building his brand. In the industry you knew that if his name was tied to something it had to be of the utmost quality. His perfectionism and drive spoke louder than his words.

Yet in just one night his ratings plumeted to 80% of people having a negative impression of him. Prior to the "crash" and women coming out of the woodwork saying they are mistresses of his, only 2% of the public had a negative impression of him.

Can he ever recover?

The reality, based on history, is NO. He will never reach the height of trust and respect he had just one short month ago in November of 2009.

There are several business lessons for you to learn here:
1. Trust crumbles easily- your words and actions must match or they will catch up to you. And when they do people don't like feeling like they have been duped by you.
2. Quality & Perception relate- people will relate your companies quality to their perception of the quality of the individuals you hire. Make sure their attitudes match the perception you want.
3. Actions not Words Count- People will look for the actions to match the words. If they don't, the words mean nothing. Just last month Woods gave an interview on the value of family. Now that same interview is being used to "mock" his actions.
4. Morals & Values do count- Kanye West went from 17% of the population having a negative impression of him to over 81% of the people having a negative impression of him after he humiliated Taylor Swift at the awards. I wouldn't be surprised if his career never recovers.

So the moral of the story is THINK. Your reputation and brand is directly tied to your actions. Yes, people will interpret the value of your brand through how they interpret the value of EACH and EVERY interaction they have with your employees.

All it take is one poor interaction with one person to lose a life time customer. So my advice to you, is to take care of your employees so they take care of your customers.

Anne Warfield

More on managing your message by Anne Warfield

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How to manifest the life you want

As you have noticed from my blogs, they are all designed to spark thinking. For all change starts with a change in thinking. You can not change on the outside long-term if you don't change on the inside. They go hand in hand.

The other day someone was telling me about what kind of team they wanted at work. He knew exactly how they wanted it to operate. He wanted a team that operated with a high degree of accountability, respect, and accuracy. I asked him what he was doing to make that "culture" happen, and he told me he couldn't make the culture change because he didn't have the right people. His solution was to keep firing people and hiring new people- which he had been doing for over 3 years!

In his mind, he didn't have the right people. The real problem isn't the people, it is the thinking that is now infiltrated in to that department. Imagine if you are one of those team members. What they are seeing is that you stick your nose in your job and just protect it because you could be axed. So problems become buried because no one wants to be the one fired. He is actually creating a culture of fear rather than a culture of accountability.

You see the message that is sent when you fire people rather than work on changing what needs to be changed is that "you are dispensible so don't disrupt the flow."

If you want to manifest the changes you want, you need to start with YOU. Anything you see happening around you that you don't want to be a part of figure out what you are doing to contribute to it. I know this manager doesn't see what he is doing that is causing this but instead is focusing outward on "I just need the right people."

So here is a great line to ponder: You don't get in life what you want; you get in life what you are.

Make sure you ARE what you WANT.

Anne Warfield
More on effective leadership by Anne Warfield

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

You need to reVerse to move Forward

There is one person more important to you than anyone. I want you to take a moment right now and picture in your mind who, for you, is that person.

You most likely thought of your parents, your children, your significant other or a good friend. But I don't think that is the one person that is more important to you than anyone.

Here take this quick test: When the person you pictured in your mind is in a photograph with you, do you first look at them or do you look at how YOU came out in the photo? Most likely you checked out you first. You most likely criticized how your hair looked, your smile, your teeth and your stance or you smiled pleased as punch at how good you came out and then and only then did you look at how everyone else in the picture came out.

My point is not that you don't love the other person, but that your first instinct when thinking is to think of YOU. You want to make sure you come out okay.

This need to have yourself look good and to take care of yourself causes some big problems in your thinking with others.

When we look at others and try to figure out what they meant by what they said or did, we automatically filter it through, "now why would I have done that if I were them?"

We then move forward putting our judgment on their actions and assume that is the truth. But alas, it is only the truth as we perceive it.

In order to move FORWARD with your THINKING you need to start working in REVERSE.

Here are the steps to start Thinking in REVERSE:

1. Listen to your thoughts. What you think about other people is EXACTLY how you think of yourself. If you are critical of how people dress, then your mind is critical of how you dress. If you watch to make sure people don't cheat you, then that means you have cheated people.

2. Stop negative thoughts immediately. Literally say "Stop, Stop" and change the thought to a positive.

3. Make note of any negative thoughts you have during the day. These thoughts are what are driving your behavior. If you don't own them, they will own you.

4. Once you have selected the thoughts you want to change, start immediately changing them. For example, if you usually look for hidden meanings when others talk, start working on NEVER having hidden meanings when you talk. As you get rid of your negative habits your thoughts will start to change as well.

We get back what we sow so make sure you plant good seeds. Reverse can be your new way forward.

Anne Warfield
More on managing your message by Anne Warfield

Monday, December 7, 2009

You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

You can't teach an old dog new tricks. How often have you heard that statement? It has been around since Socrates, I believe.

Well, new reseach on the brain is blowing that statement to smitherenes. They are now finding that if you repeat certain thoughts or beahviors, neuro-connections are made and repeatedly strengthened so that you essentially restructure your brain or that element of your brain that deals with that behavior.

So in a sense, you can think your way out of anything.

So look at your life. What is not the way you want it to be?

Take time, right now, to write out how you want it to be. Then start training your brain to believe it IS that way already. Your brain will literally start to modify your behavior to align with the new thought.

Anne Warfield
More on improving productivity by Anne Warfield

Third Belief: All Conflict Needs to Be Resolved

World Peace. It is the number one answer beauty contestants give when asked what they want in the world.

In corporations you hear people saying they want peace in the office. For most people that means, no conflict. So we all play to get rid of conflict or to resolve it so all people are happy.

The third belief that is a fallacy in conflict is that you need to have all conflict resolved.

Not all conflict is resolvable nor should it be. Having differences is healthy. In order to be creative you often need to be pushed so hard that what you did before no longer is acceptable to do.

I believe our economy is actually helping businesses reinvent and become better simply because what worked in the past no longer does work.

Have you ever wondered why your "divorced" friends look the best they ever have? Why suddenly do they lose the weight, join a gym, and buy new clothes? As they shed their old life, they shed the old way of doing things and start a new path.

So conflict doesn't need to be resolved. It does need to be handled. It does need to be addressed. And, yes, at times it needs someone to just say, "this is how it will be."

May you go forth and see conflict as a source of learning, growth, and creation rather than as a stumbling block.

Anne Warfield
More on the perception of conflict by Anne Warfield