Tag Archives: Business

Urgent Is The Enemy Of Important

After a few months in business of rather full days,  clients all over the globe (meaning somewhere, someone is always awake, wanting something) and looming deadlines, I’m discovering that the urgent is the enemy of the important.

What’s important is the innovation, the development and getting things out the door.  What’s urgent is the situation that pops up that demands immediate attention, but means that for someone, or some people, the innovation and development cease.

Seth Godin wrote a great piece on how to tell if the urgent is King in your day: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2005/08/hurry.html

The solution? Make room for the urgent in your day – but don’t let it take your day. Plan in time for the important – and stick to it like glue.  If the urgent always gets the front seat soon there won’t be a product to be urgent over.

 

 

Less Aggression Please!

Ladies.

This one is mostly for you – but trust me the men will benefit too.  Unfortunately it’s something though that only a woman can say to a woman.

Aggression does not equal strength.  Bitchiness does not equal business savvy.

Somewhere along the road many of us found that business can be a man’s world, and a quick route to getting our way is to be an all-out hard-nosed fire-breathing force to be reckoned with.

Somewhere along the road we forgot the unique gifts we bring to the table as women and lost our femininity.  But aggressive behavior is just an easy way through a tough environment, stripping us of our strengths and appeal.

Managing fairly but firmly, keeping an eye on what is best for the individuals without ever losing sight of what is best for the company, understanding situations through discernment and bringing creative solutions, charming clients whilst sticking to our guns, juggling the push and pull of finances without ever losing control of the bottom line – these are to name a few areas that we excel in as women.  None of these areas – nor any others for that matter – are better managed with the fire-and-brimstone act.

It’s also a sure-fire way to stay single… or to end up that way.

I’m not talking about meekness and submission, but embracing your femininity and using your skills to your advantage.  Let your confidence be in knowing you know what you’re talking about, that you’ve been here before, that you CAN run this company.

Not in proving you can shout the loudest.

 

 

Life Is More Than A Checklist

Why is it that we often find our greatest sense of accomplishment in simply ‘getting lots of things done’?

I’m a ‘make-it-happen’ person, which is a wonderful skill, but also can be my downfall.  Last week, my first week in my new job, I managed to not only get up early for the gym every morning, but book myself out every night, and all weekend.  Priding myself on good health and a steely determination I didn’t question that I could pull the week off. Why though?

Sometimes life is full, granted.  But sometimes I make life full unnecessarily, leaving no time for creativity to blossom, for reflection, for contemplation.  One thing I’ve learned, though I have to constantly remind myself, is that more is accomplished in an hour of contemplation than in a week’s worth of checklists.  Not chanting ‘om’ or assuming the lotus position necessarily, but allowing your mind to clear, to wade through the mess of surface thoughts and dive down in to where your genius lays.  And yes, we all have genius within us.

Try it.  Book an hour in to your diary for a date with you.  Put away your phone, your iPad, your laptop and all the other devices that grab for your attention, and allow yourself to be quiet and just think.

I promise you’ll be amazed at what you are capable of.

 

Farewell

Today is the final day of my role as GM at Direct Traffic Media, so this post is really a shout-out to all the team there who have been my friends and co-conspirators in the adventure that was 2010.  I’ve loved every minute of the ride.

A special thank you to:

Ree, who gave me the opportunity to be a part of this dynamic team

Ervin, (and Alex) who taught me all I know and then some about social media promotion

Di, who was always the brains behind my organisation.

Su and Pedro, who are genuises both and embody patience

Sophie, Gurdeep & Robin, who have become Master LinkBuilders & Junior SEOs

Dan, Tom & Jan – Writers extraordinaire

Ang – who is the heart and soul of DTM

My only regret is that I can’t stay put and move forward.  You will all be sorely missed.

Influence

‘Influence’ is a buzz word at the moment.  Online influence and how to measure it are very hot topics, but what does day to day influence look like?

It’s a well known fact that people buy in to people before vision.  If you’re wondering why your team aren’t coming alongside you in your adventure towards your goals consider the example you set.  Whilst I’m no expert, here’s a couple things I have found helped significantly:

  • write the vision down and make it clear.  give tangible goals that your team can engage with
  • encourage often
  • care.  ask questions and then actually listen to the answers; ask about what matters to them (yes you’ll have to find that out)
  • maintain a transparent approach to conflict resolution.  if it’s not working, talk about it
  • communicate, communicate, communicate

Nothing earth-shattering but often forgotten.

Look around you – is anyone with you on your journey, or are you just out taking a walk?

Season End

shimmering
Creative Commons License photo credit: Shot in the Blue

Ends of seasons are always the most tricky for me.

The last time I was in a situation similar to the one I’m in now I handled it with the delicacy of a tornado in a small town.  Knowing it was time to leave London for a season- which meant my job, my flat, the teams I was on, my friendships – I decided to quit everything in one overly-emotional whirlwind.  Not dissimilar to a small child throwing their toys out of the pram.  Not surprisingly, the results were fairly disastrous.  Not to mention the huge amount of respect and reputation lost as a result of leaving badly.

The beginning of a season for me is always the most thrilling.  New everything.  Scary and fun.  The middle of seasons are pretty good too… when you’re confidently comfortable, cruising, still being challenged but you know it’s within your stride, even if you have to run a little.

Then comes the end.  Not thrilling, not new, not scary or fun.  Well maybe sometimes scary.  But how you handle this season is the imprint you will leave in the minds of everyone surrounding you in this season.   A belly-flop ending can negate the most positive of successes.

Ending well is subjective.  To me, it’s taking the time to honour those who have given you the opportunities, the support, the leadership and the friendship in the current season.  Regardless of how exciting the next season looks, staying 100% committed to the ‘now’ until your season ends is always worth it.  This time I’ve done it a whole lot better.  This time I’ll take friends with me from this season and not leave chaos in my wake.

This has been a great season end.

The Princess And The Process


Creative Commons License photo credit: Roebot

I am a self-confessed process junkie.  Love the stuff.  Anything that takes longer than 30 seconds I am convinced there must be a process for to make it go faster.

Process is what Happy Endings are made of.  Creating process, taking vision for the future and carving a way, makes the pauper in to a princess.  And if you’re really good, process can make you a linchpin.

Not convinced?  Check out this excerpt from the Harvard Business Review post “The Right CEO Personality for Process Improvement”

“As I think about companies that compete on consistent, low cost, reliable operations, most have or had leaders who were process innovators, such as Herb Kelleher at Southwest Airlines, Sam Walton at Wal-Mart, Ray Kroc at McDonalds, Jeff Bezos at Amazon.com, and Fred Smith at FedEx. Before he was co-CEO at Citigroup, John Reed came out of IT and operations. In companies where process excellence is a competitive advantage, he’s the kind of candidate CEO that more boards should be looking for. Boards need to ensure that an operations orientation is a key criterion for succession planning in organizations where process improvement is a strategic imperative.”  – Brad Power

Process can seem like it could be constricting, controlling, imagination-less.  In actual fact it frees you from the hamster wheel of doing twice as much due to a lack of process.  Once you streamline your product, your service offering, your internal strategy, you in return gain the freedom (and time) to be truly creative.

Haste

Golden Gate

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.  ~Lao Tzu

If it’s the right career decision, you won’t need to make it this minute no matter how urgent the offer (well, more often than not).

I excel at gettings things done.  My last boss called me the ‘relentless implementer’ or something along those lines.  It’s a good skill.  Yet I can get so accustomed to making fast, decisive calls and moving on them that it is easy to forget that there’s always time.

Now I’m not suggesting you mull over every decision however big or small for days on end, but if it’s your career, your company, your equity, your reputation there’s always time. If  your head is spinning and you feel pressured (from within or out) to make a decision just breathe, get a cup of coffee and count back from 10.  The greatest of my wrong decisions have always been in haste.

Creative Commons License photo credit: h.koppdelaney

The Writing’s On The Wall (Unless you get it in writing)

“‘The writing on the wall’- an idiom, is a portent of doom or misfortune. It originates in the Biblical book of Daniel—where supernatural writing foretells the demise of the Babylonian Empire” – Wikipedia

I’ve never known any business venture (in my admittedly rather young career but nonetheless) to at some point not struggle when the ground rules are not put in writing.

People change.  People leave.  People forget.

However painful it may seem to put contracts and written agreements in place in your 2-man operation, you’ll be grateful later when one wants out and suddenly a whole host of problems arise.  Who owns what?  Who works for whom?  Who worked harder, longer, more often and is there such thing as ‘sweat equity’ in our agreement?

It may seem laborious now, but when the writing is on the wall for you and your business partner, your business, your boss, your suppliers, your landlord, and all the copious other relationships that can go awry, you’ll be thankful you got it in writing.

The People-Pleasing Disease

Maybe it starts at school, or maybe it comes from getting ice cream when you do good things.

Who knows, but many of us are plagued most of our adult lives with the people-pleasing disease.

It’s easy to catch and hard to cure.

When I was gigging (in my youth : ) I discovered that the key to not constantly being deflated is to not focus on the one person scowling whilst the other 99 clap and enjoy themselves.  Funny how something in us can’t let go of the one person who just doesn’t like us.

In online/digital promotion there is a rule of thumb; 10% will love you, 10% will hate you, and 80% will be positive in sentiment.  The key is to not drain your resources and energy on the 10% that will never be happy.  Acknowledge them, thank them for their feedback and move on.

I’m convinced that if we take the same rule of thumb and apply it to our lives things would be much more straight forward.  If we factor in 10%  of the people in our worlds to never be our greatest fans, then maybe we can embrace their place as just that – the 10% – and focus on the other 10% who ARE our greatest fans, and the 80% who “Like me  – Yes they really like me  (Sally Field).

Or possibly it’s something deeper in learning to set my own expectations of myself, to decide for myself what is my best, and hold myself accountable to my own standards, not someone elses’.  The only real obstacle between me and greatness isn’t my critic but myself.

Or, possibly, it’s a deep-down desire simply to please people in hopes of getting more ice cream.  If in fact that is the case, I’d suggest you just buy your own.