The 3 Key Components of “Skill”

Blog -11172015In developing ourselves and our teams, we frequently use the word “skill” to identify resource gaps, clarify needs, recruit employees and evaluate performance. But throughout my career, I’ve come to realize that skill is not a single thing. Rather, I believe that skill is made up of 3 separate and distinct components that together can not only improve our understanding, but our communication as well.

These 3 components are EducationExperience and Instinct.

Read more…

Can a Ballet Technique Help Your Business?

11102015 BlogIn ballet, they call it “spotting”, and the concept is as important for business as it is for dance.

❧ ❧ ❧

My pre-teen daughter has been dancing for over 6 years now.   Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Jazz – she loves them all! As a result, if you can’t find me at work or home, I’m likely to be found sitting many hours at the studio – iPad or computer on my lap – peeking in to watch her classes.

This weekend, when I looked in, there they were… spinning and spinning, round and round across the room. Dancer after dancer, each one started at one corner and spun across the full length of room. Just watching them made me dizzy, and you’d expect them to fall on the floor at the end. But they didn’t’. In fact, they weren’t affected at all because they’ve learned the skill of “spotting”.

Read more…

Sowing Success: Part 3 of the “Right SEED”

Blog - 11032015Over the last two weeks, we have been discussing the challenges of achieving business growth and how we can increase our probability of success by being careful about how we, as leaders, plant the right SEED.

In my first post, I shared my “optimal SEED” framework with the following 4 parts:


  • S – Setting Your Goals
  • E – Evaluating Your Market Potential
  • E – Exploring Strategic Alternatives 
  • D – Deploying Resources 

Read more…

Digging Deeper for Growth: Part 2 of the “Right SEED”

Blog 10292015

In last week’s post, “Are You Planting the Right SEED for Growth?”, we discussed the challenges of achieving business growth, and how in business – as in nature, our probability of success depends highly on our ability as leaders to plant the right SEED.

At the end of the post, I shared what I have come to trust as the “optimal SEED” for growth which when planted effectively, can dramatically improve the probability of success and maximize outcomes.  Here are the 4 parts again:

  •       S – Setting Your Goals 
  •       E – Evaluating Your Market Potential 
  •       E – Exploring Strategic Alternatives
  •       D – Deploying Resources

Today I want to share more about the first two parts including their Purpose & Deliverables, Typical Activities & Approaches and Common Pitfalls.

Read more…

Are you planting the right SEED for growth?

SEED pictureGROWTH… it’s the desire of every business and non-profit.  It’s what fuels progress, expands opportunity & inspires people.  It’s what creates sustainability in an organization and wins the day versus competition.  And, it’s at the top of the list of goals for leaders around the world each year.

Now, if setting goals were as easy as achieving them, growth would be a slam-dunk for our organizations.  But unfortunately, it’s not that easy.  Research consistently shows that 70-90% of all business plans fail to achieve desired outcomes.  That means on average, you can expect only a 1 in 5 chance that your efforts will be successful!   Not only are those disappointing odds, but they have even more disappointing impacts.

As leaders, how can we increase this probability?

Read more…

Tightrope Walking: 6 Balancing Acts Women in Business Must Master

11122015 Blog PicI recently chaperoned a 6th grade retreat for my daughter’s class.  A key part of the retreat was “Team Building” and the exercises required the group to work together collaboratively to solve challenges.

As I stood watching the interaction, a common pattern emerged.  With each challenge, the boys quickly asserted their leadership and jumped into deploying solution after solution until they ran out of them.  The girls on the other hand, asked many questions, discussed options, then proposed solutions. Unfortunately, each time they shared one with the boys, it was quickly dismissed and they would go silent.

It was maddening to watch! Both groups were unsuccessful on their own, but it took them a long time to learn how to work together effectively.  As I stood there observing, I realized this was a real life example of the challenges gender differences pose in the business world as well.

Read more…

Why “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” doesn’t work in business –

right-238369_1280In last week’s blog post, “Your Business is Not Powerball”, I shared a leadership reality – achieving success in business is not about LUCK.  It requires deliberate planning, clear choices and the skills to execute on them.

Today, I want to talk more about that second part – the process of making choices.  As I work with business leaders, I continually find that this is a challenge for many.

Perhaps it’s our culture of we can “have it all” that holds leaders back from making choices.  Perhaps it’s the fear of making the wrong choice and RISK that limits decision-making. Or perhaps it’s even simpler than that.  Perhaps, faced with a variety of opportunities & demands, leaders simply don’t know where to start.

As children, we used “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” to make choices.  But in business, all choices are not created equal, and the end result can have significant impact.  That’s why leaders need a proven methodology for making wise choices no matter what they are.

Read more…

Your Business is Not Powerball

Lottokugeln rollen auf blauem HintergrundOver recent weeks, the Powerball jackpot has been climbing and is back up around the $300M mark — very close to the level experts say creates a “positive-expectation” for players.  People start to come out of the woodwork to buy tickets in the hopes of winning the big Jackpot.  They rationalize, “although the odds are stacked against me, it’s well worth the minimal investment for the chance to win big!”

In the case of Powerball, this may make some sense.  But unfortunately, I’ve found some business leaders using the same approach without even realizing it!  Here are 3 Powerball realities that simply aren’t real in business:

Read more…

3 Reasons Your Employees Don’t Feel Ownership for the Business

Ownership Blog-1 I launched my consulting business about a year ago, after a long and successful career in the corporate world. The reasons for this decision were many, but primarily driven by a desire to:

  • Do the work I’m passionate about,
  • Make a broader impact, and
  • Have greater personal flexibility while doing it

While I’ve found all of those to be benefits, I was taken by surprise with a realization that I hadn’t expected!

You see, throughout my career, I had been consistently described as “committed”, “dedicated”, “driven”, “passionate” and “results-oriented”. I worked longer and harder than expected and believed I put my all into every role I had. I took great pride in going beyond the call-of-duty to exceed expectations and felt confident these characteristics would serve me well in my own business.

Of course, I was right about all that, but my assumptions failed to consider one major difference:  Ownership

Read more…

IT’S HARVEST TIME: 5 lessons we can learn about growth from nature

Business GrowthIn the North East US, we are approaching the fall season – a time also known as “harvest time”.   During this time, growers undertake the process of gathering mature crops from the fields, assessing their productivity yields & developing plans for the next growing season.

As business leaders in the 3rd and 4th quarters, we find ourselves in similar activities – gathering data, assessing our results & developing plans for growth in the coming year. Surprisingly, the similarities don’t stop there.  In fact, I believe the basic principles for growth & productivity in horticulture can be key for driving business growth as well.

Read more…