Go Beyond the Checklist

Checklist IILet it be known that I’m a fan of checklists. There’s a certain excitement felt by checking off items as they’re completed.

Recently I met with several managers in the company regarding a specific project. Each of them, myself included, owned a portion of the project. One by one they told me they had completed their portion. Each person truly had checked off their assigned task.

However, the overall project wasn’t progressing.

Too much focus had been placed on the tasks – and not the overall goal of the project. Each step was being done but without a visual of what needed to be achieved.

Communication, coordination and a drive for project success (not just completion) were lacking.

Look at your to-do list this week – which tasks are achieving higher, overarching company goals?

I’m reviewing my checklist, updating my priorities, and emphasizing success that exceeds my individual tasks. We’ll see what improvements this makes over the next few weeks.

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Book Review: Think Big, Act Bigger

think-big-preview-02In 2015, I heard Jeffrey Hazlet speak at a breakout session during  Hubspot’s Inbound conference. He discussed the concepts from his book Think Big, Act Bigger.

Admittedly, it took me several months to purchase the book and several more to start reading it.

Mr. Hazlet is opinionated. That bold stubbornness makes the book interesting and more valuable.

My Top Takeaways:

Thinking and acting big feels risky. Not thinking and acting big far riskier.  

  • The idea of acting big, pushing boundaries and stepping out of your own comfort zones feels dangerous. As business accelerates so quickly, we need to be thinking about how to go BIG, what ELSE can we do, where can we PUSH the envelope. That gives us the best chance of success.

Always be evolving.

  • In a world where “change” is the new status quo, your ability to adapt and change may be the most important indication of your ability to succeed.

This is one of the better books I’ve read this year. And it’s not too lengthy. – so, you can read it over just a few days. The book gives great, real-world examples that make the concepts tangible.

My Recommendation:

Get it. Read it. Make your team read it. And re-read it often.

If you’ve read it share your thoughts?

What book(s) have you read this year that was valuable?

What’s your real problem?

Whats your problemAsk anyone in your organization to create a list of company problems and you will find many willing participants, and a list of problems a million miles long. Identifying problems is an easy skill; one that far too many people spend far too much time perfecting.

Ask people to come up with one or two solutions to company problems and nothing but silence may follow.

Anyone can tell you the problems.

The best people, the most valuable people, are those who offer solutions.

You want to be more valuable to your organization – be a “Soltion’ist”!

Don’t be a problem taker (or maker).

Hiring is like Selling a Home

pablo-20This month marks 10 years living in my current home. The first place we lived as a married couple, was a condo. We used a realtor to sell it. He did a great job organizing Saturday open houses so we could show the place to as many people as possible, Hours and hours were spent walking people through the rooms, and answering questions. Eventually, we sold the condo and bought a starter home.

After seven years our family outgrew the starter home and we decided to sell it in order to build a home more suitable to our family’s needs. This time my wife and I decided to sell it on our own, nothing against Realtors.

Again we decided to hold an open house. This time the announcement included as many details as possible, such as selling price, the year built, the size of the home, the size of the lot, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, paint and carpet color, brand of the appliances, schools near the home, distance from the freeway, and more. The idea being to give potential buyers tons of information about questions they’d inevitably ask.

When the day came for the open house we saw far fewer people than expected. In fact, only a handful showed up. However, two couples expressed interest in buying the home – seven days later it was sold to a young couple looking for a starter home, in a good neighborhood near certain schools, where they hoped their children would one day attend.

See it wasn’t about finding lots of people to look at the home. The goal was to find one person willing to buy and with the financial means to do so. In this case, the young couple who pulled up in the small rusted car – they were the ones (and they paid in cash – no loan needed, but that’s another story).

20161207_152446-01Hiring is no different. Hiring is about finding one person to fill a specific role. It’s not about a bringing in dozens of applicants and vetting them all out – It’s not Celebrity Apprentice. It is about finding one person willing to work for your company, in that position, for that pay – who has the current skills and future potential, and that fits into your company’s culture.

Again, the goal is to find the ONE.

Once you’ve found someone who meets your criteria – offer them the job. Don’t spend any more time. Don’t risk losing them. After all, they might end up finding another “home to buy” that’s just as appealing.

As a Business Leader You Only have One Job

number-one-1256037-640x480Recently I was asked what I most needed from my boss. Not referring to my current job or current boss, just a general career question.

After much consideration I came to the conclusion that I only need one thing from my boss:

Clear the Path

That’s it!

Clear the path of any obstacles, thereby enabling me to do the job I was hired to do.

As a boss, a manager and business leader that’s what is most important – clear the path so your team can most effectively do their job. If you can’t do that, nothing else matters.

 

It’s Not Business, It’s Just Personal

Ever noticed when a major business win is achieved everyone touts the people and relationships that made it happen. Contrarily, when tough decisions with damaging consequences are made these same people quickly hide behind the proverbial skirt of “It’s not personal, it’s just business.” This phrase is most often said to someone who will be personally affected by the recent decision.

ID-10034799“We’ve decided to buy from another company”

“You weren’t selected for the promotion”

“We won’t be accepting your offer”

“You’re being let go”

“We chosen another candidate for the position”

“Your request was denied”

Businesses aren’t the products or services they sell. Businesses are an intertwined web of employees, vendors and customers. It is the people that make business… well business.

Yes, hard business decisions are constantly being made. The decisions themselves are made by individuals whose personal experiences, opinions and biases go into each and every choice. People’s lives are affected by these so-called business decisions and the ripple effects are far reaching – never downplay that fact.

Celebrate the human element that comprises today’s business environment and stop saying “It’s not personal, it’s just business.” After all, it’s always personal and never just business.

 

 

Photo by Photostock

Is Hubspot’s Inbound Conference Worth It? Part 2

Inbound_2015 Worth It“Worth it” – is a relative term. For this article the question is, is it worth it for an employer to send marketing people to Inbound?

Here’s why it is worth it:

  • Shows an Invest in Your People
    • Employees want to know they’re working for more than just a paycheck. Companies that invest in their people find those people are more fully invested in the job. What a great opportunity to invest in your people while helping increase their value to the organization.
  • Gain Access to Top Marketing Leaders
    • Your company may not be able to hire a swarm of marketing pros, but Inbound gives your marketing people exposure to some of the best and brightest marketing minds. It’s a way to expand your marketing influencers with fairly limited investment.
  • Demonstrates You Value Marketing
    • No matter what your company does, marketing is important, maybe even crucial to your success. Sending your top marketers to Inbound shows a commitment to marketing and show you’re looking for new ways to market and promote your goods or services. This is beneficial to your employees and your customers.

Tip: Make the Decision Early to Save Money.

  • Early entrance fee starts at $600 and goes up to $1,500 as the conference draws closer. I paid $950 this year. Additionally, hotels fill up fast and that means prices go up. Request that your marketers book their hotel early to save money.

Are you a manager that sent marketing people to Inbound 2015? Let us know if you thought it was worth the investment.