Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Colored String

She entered the coffee shop, walking slowly with the help of her cane carrying a plastic box full of assorted colored string and other craft materials.  She may call the string some other fancy name, but it looks like string to me.  She picks out a spot to sit and then gets her drink.  After organizing herself at the table, her drink at her right and her plastic box in front of her she proceeds to knit together the string in a painstaking and artistic fashion to what soon becomes a “friendship bracelet”.  While making the bracelet several customers walk by and ask her what she is doing.  A conversation ensues and in some cases they purchase one of the bracelets.  I have seen her do this on numerous occasions and I am fascinated by how many conversations are started because of this colored string.

You may say, “So what, she makes and sells bracelets.”  It’s not the bracelets, it is her attitude. She has a passion for making the bracelets and has just as much fun sharing her talent for making them.  This beautiful lady lost her job and is now working part-time and found a way to make a little extra money by selling 49'er, Raider, Cal football, and other themed bracelets.

It is amazing how colored string can have such an impact in people’s lives.  This little lady with the box of string, a small drink, and a passion for making others happy is making a significant and positive impact in the lives of the people she comes in contact with. What a woman!

She has made a positive impact in my life!  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Broken Leadership

Can leadership be broken?  I think it can.  Can it be fixed?  I think it can.

What will it take?

Let me share with you a little story of a small company with big problems.  While working with the owner of the company, we were looking at employee files.  I noticed something strange.  In a short period of just a few years over 15 employees in this small company of 5, had left the company for various reasons.  I was shocked!  I asked him what he thought was the reason for so many departures?  He began to rattle off the myriad of reasons.  His leadership was broken

I stopped him and asked, what was the one constant in all of the involuntary and voluntary terminations?   He reluctantly said, “ME.”  He realized that he hired all of them and let them underperform without holding them accountable. Because he did not set the right expectations, he paid the price, a loss of business and loss of credibility with the remaining employees.

He asked, “How do I correct the problem?”

I said, “It starts with you.  You have to take a step back and think about what type of leader you want to be and what type of company you want to have.”  Once he was able to come to terms with his leadership style and his vision for his company, then he could begin to attract the type of team members he wanted to join his organization.

Over the past year he has continued to make changes and now has a team that will allow for the type of growth they all can buy into.  Leadership always starts with you!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Little Things Mean So Much!

Little things mean so much. While having lunch with some former employees, they reminded me of the little things that I was able to do for our team.  They remembered the pancake breakfasts I used to make, the Jamba Juice days, and the massage days for the entire staff.

These little things were my way to show my appreciation to my team for all of their hard work.  They shared with me that in their current employment there are few times where their work is recognized.  They shared that all that is needed is a little acknowledgement for their efforts. They said that a little pat on the back, a little “attaboy” or “attagirl” goes such a long way to keep team members fully engaged.

As a leader, it is important to acknowledge your team’s work, not in a manipulative way, but in an honest and pure way. These expressions of acknowledgment show how much you appreciate their contribution to the growth and success of the company.  When people feel unnoticed and unappreciated, they feel like they don’t matter.

Remember:  Sometimes little things aren’t so little after all.