Are you settling?

When you stop and think about it, how many of us are settling? Doing something that is acceptable or tolerable because our dream didn’t work out?

But wait, how many of us actually tried to attain our dream? Further, do you know what your dream is?

My experience is there are far too many people who settle because they don’t know they don’t have to. Or because they don’t know how to do anything else.

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Change is not a Choice

This is not a news flash. We have always known that change is not a luxury of choice. Yet, we have never been in the position we are now––facing so much change all at once and at such a rapid pace. We are surrounded by it… technology, health care treatment (not insurance, an entirely different issue), generational transition, buying habits, and on and on.

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6 Ways Leaders Add Value

Leaders have an opportunity and an obligation to add value to their teams and organizations. Size of the organization is irrelevant––a leader is there to “raise the tide so all boats float higher”. When that happens, employees are challenged, feel valued, and are more productive, more innovative and more likely to help the company achieve …

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Character is established in a defining moment

When my oldest son graduated from high school, I gave him a book called Real Life Begins After High School. I love to read and, unfortunately, he doesn’t, so it sat unused. I decided that I would read it cover to cover, and over the course of the summer before he went off to college, I could share the nuggets with him. “Helicopter Mom,” you are thinking? Maybe, but remember, this was my first to leave the nest!

It is now 8 years later, and he survived college and has a professional job. He is maturing every day–it is a life-long process–and no real surprise that he has his head on straight and a great sense of values. But one of the things I read in that book has stuck with me because it puts words to my feelings about character.

“Character,” as defined by the authors Bickel, Jantz and Barry, is “what you do when no one is looking”. Did you ever look at someones else’s test paper for that one elusive answer? If you order a cup of coffee at Starbucks and the barrista gives you an extra dollar as change and doesn’t realize it, do you give it back? When you do your taxes, do you report cash income? If you make a promise or commitment to someone, do you keep it? Do you promise customers one thing and deliver another? This is tough stuff. We are basically all well-intentioned good-hearted people who try to do the right thing. So why, when no one is looking, might we occasionally not do the right thing?

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Focus on inner success

A few hundred of my best friends and I had a chance to hear Billie Jean King speak at an event for WIN for KC. Billie Jean King is an icon for many reasons–but not all of the past; after listening to her speak, she continues to be a voice for progress. Recently, she was …

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Strategic planning: A tool for every day

I admit, I thought of this blog topic on a plane returning from a very nice vacation in Mexico. It occurred to me that strategic planning (which, to me, is the backbone of every successful business) seems so hard, painful and difficult to everyone else. The truth is that, like anything else, it has to …

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Why you want to be part of a value-driven business.

Value driven organizations have a sense of purpose that supercedes profit. Yet value driven businesses are rapidly becoming some of the best models of financially successful companies. They find their competition and motivation comes from within, to strive to be better–a better solution, a better employer, a better citizen. They strive to outperform themselves, to constantly improve. In so doing, they set standards for the rest of the us.

One of the most common approaches in business today is “beat the competition”. Yet, most companies do so by hiring talent (employees or consultants) from within the industry, benchmarking competitors and asking customers what they want to see done better. What that breeds is sameness. Companies end up adopting industry views on best practice, a competitors’ new product or service, or solve customer problems without providing advancements in how business is done.

But there is a breed of business that is approaching the market differently and seeing great growth as a result. Leaders of these companies have set a strong set of values, and operate with those in mind, deploying creative thinking to find solutions that cut across industries, anticipate customers’ needs they can’t yet articulate for themselves.

These companies translate their values into strategy and stay relentlessly focused on it. Who are these companies? Many are in the news. Zappos, Southwest, Build-a-Bear, Chik-fil-a, Cranium to name a few. Please help add to the list with your comments.

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Customer Service Dilemma?

What would you do? You are a travel company that is taking a large group to the Far East. One night the leader of the group suggests that people might want to do something different for dinner than the travel company arranged. Only a subset of the group was invited to this new place, and it was a large subset. A few others, including myself, were left on their own.

Two things to keep in mind: 1) Food is expensive in Japan 2) the travelers had already paid for the meal arranged by the travel company ahead of time

If a traveler then asked for their meal, which they bought on their own, to be reimbursed, what would you do?

Here is what the travel company, Caldwell Travel in Nashville, had to say:

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Value is in our head not our wallet

One of the most important things any business can do is define their core target market. It is not an easy task but it is the key to determining the optimum business model. Meeting client needs consistently requires a “value proposition” well defined and then built into how the company operates, as well as who …

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