Category Archives: Leadership

The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-maker

Small businesses are the backbone of small towns and cities throughout the United States. It is the small, local, independent store owner, service provider and professional who are usually the movers and shakers in these communities. Take a look at any positive activity or progress happening in your local area and chances are a small business person is behind it or actively involved in moving the effort forward.

It is in everyone’s best interest that these small enterprises not only survive, but thrive. That is the guiding principle of a new on-line effort being driven by The 3/50 Project. This website explains their focus in detail, but the basic principle of the 3/50 Project is this: Pick 3 local businesses you would miss if they were gone, spend $50.00 per month in those businesses. Simple as that.

The 3/50 Project points out that for every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. If you spend that money in a national chain store (big box store) only $43 stays home. If you spend it online, $0 dollars stays in your community. That’s right ZERO dollars, the big nothing, the old donut hole…

Kind of easy to make the decision to support 3/50 when you ponder those numbers, isn’t it?

I want to thank The Supply Chick, Becky Flansburg for bringing the 3/50 Project to my attention. Becky is one of “those” people, you know the type: exhaustively positive, constantly chipper and always doing something to move herself (and those around her) forward.

Take 15 minutes today to visit The 3/50 Project and sign up. Then, next time you are out and about in your town, visit one of those small businesses that make your community unique. Take out your wallet and live a little.

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Filed under Leadership, Responsibility, Shop locally

You Owe It to the Rest of the World

Former Hheadvicearvard President Abbott Lawrence Lowell once said to his students: “Imagination without hard work is usually barren. What is more, the brighter the imagination, the greater the amount of work required to its full fruition.”

Are you a slacker? Are you wasting your talent? Do you have brilliant ideas that come to you that you let slip away? Well, its time to “work it baby, work it”!

The new economy is going to be built by those willing to work hard on developing their innovation quotient, not necessarily their intelligence quotient. The old economy was all about developing skills and manipulating facts to engineer and build “things”.  The next century, especially in the United States, the economy is going to be about innovative ways to use what we have, designing new products to make us more efficient and productive. Successful companies are going to be the ones who can deliver new ways to help us work, relax and raise our families.

It is up to you to work hard to develop your innovation and imagination. You need to wring the most out of the creative talent that you possess in your noggin, because it is the imaginative ones around us that will pull us through and get this economy moving once again. If you have an imagination, you owe it to yourself and the rest of us to “make those dreams come true.”

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Filed under Creativity, Leadership, Responsibility

Just… Wouldn’t… Quit

The Minnesota Twins were 7 games behind Detroit on September 1st.  They lost one of their best players to injury for the year shortly thereafter. The local sports pundits chortled and said “See ya next year in spring training”.  Yet, with their back to the wall, they refused to lose. Through the month of September, they worked, hustled and just kept coming back.

Going into the final weekend of the season. they were 3 games down with 4 games to play, no team had ever overcome those odds before; winning was improbable at best, it was said. Good effort they were told, way to fight guys, now go close the Metrodome and “wait ’til next year boys”

This glorious morning the Minnesota Twins are Champions of the Central Division of the American League.

Tied with Tigers after a 162 game season, they played in an epic 12 inning game that featured comeback after comeback, a game that will be remembered for years to come, winning dramatically with hits from two of their youngest players under enormous pressure. Truly a classic performance from a team of over-achievers. It doesn’t matter how they fare against the big, bad Yankees in the coming playoffs, these guys are winners now. 

For the rest of their lives, they will look back at this past month, these past few days, last night’s game and remember that this was one of their finest hours, their defining moments, because they just… wouldn’t… quit.

So, if someone says to you “it can’t be done” or someone tells you “to stay down, you are beaten”, remember the Minnesota Twins of 2009 and know it isn’t so.

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Filed under Facing Adversity, Leadership

Pro Bono as a Marketing Strategy

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on small business trend that is becoming more popular in the current economy – providing volunteer or pro bono services to non-profit organizations in their communities in the hopes that the charity work will produce paying work in the future.
This particular strategy makes sense in today’s marketplace because the slower economy leaves excess capacity on the production floors and in the creative offices in small businesses all around the country. Gail Sullivan of Studio G Architects Inc. sums up her reasons for her pro-bono efforts: “Offering the pro bono services has given us a chance to maintain our design vigor [and] resulted in people hiring us”
Providing charity work in the community gives small businesses an opportunity to keep employees (whom they want to hang on to for when the economy improves) busy while providing value in their communities, keeping their company visible and building new relationships in the non-profit sector of the economy.
This strategy also recognizes that relationships matter more now than ever and that one way to get to know others is to invest your time, talent or treasure into a venture that you both find useful or beneficial.

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Filed under Leadership, Responsibility, Trends

The Best Fertilizer for YOUR Garden

“The best fertilizer for any soil is the shadow of it’s owner” The best looking gardens are created not by chemicals or soil quality but by the sweat of the gardener as they weed, hoe and tend to their plants.

There are two attributes that separate achievers from those who are just getting by. These attributes are a great attitude and taking ownership. Without these two, you have little chance of passing mediocrity, much less attaining excellence. With these two, you can accomplish anything.

The neat thing is, both of these attributes are a matter of choice. Your attitude is comprised (among other things) of your desire to achieve, your vision of where you’re going and how you react to that which happens in the world around you. Books have been written on the subject of attitude. However, ownership (or responsibility) is not talked about quite as much.

Ownership means taking personal responsibility for viewing and handling situations as if you owned them, even if you don’t. In other words, even if you didn’t create the mess, if it affects your results or the results of your employer, you need to take responsibility for cleaning it up.

Do you take ownership of what you do, or do you just put in time as if you’re serving a jail sentence? Do you watch the clock or the bottom line? Ownership means going above and beyond “good enough,” ensuring the job is done at the highest level.

Taking ownership means the difference between someone who dreads what they do, and someone who thrives on what they do, and are proud of their accomplishments after the fact.

When you own something, you take better care of it. You take responsibility for it.

Taking ownership of your little piece of the earth will create better results for you AND your little piece of the earth. Keep in mind that you own your life, your career, and your future success.

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Filed under Goals, Leadership, Responsibility

Fear of Failure can Cause Failure to Launch

In his great new book tribes_godin_coverTribes, Seth Godin shares his thoughts on leadership in the 21st Century. He explains in simple language how the internet is changing the face of leadership, society and the individual’s role in it. We are becoming a society of self-selecting tribes, centered around common interests and shared passions. At the center of these movements or “tribes” is a leader who is part instigator, part facilitator and part cheerleader.

One of his strongest points in the book is that fear is a significant inhibitor of innovation and progress. He says, “We choose not to be remarkable because we’re worried about criticism.” Although that may not be an entirely original thought, he points out a how differences today make the price of fear today much higher than in the past.

In the past, being remarkable required not just the courage to be “different” but it also required a great deal of capital to put one’s “different” ideas in the marketplace. However, with the tools available today on Internet 2.0, everyone has the opportunity to be remarkable at a relatively low cost. Today, in many ways, the only thing keeping someone from putting their ideas out into the marketplace is the courage and time to do so.

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Filed under Leadership, Trends