Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Watching the Signs

Have you ever wondered if you are doing all the right "stuff" when it comes to networking.  Perhaps a networking evaluation would help you to decide!

Some questions you might ask are:

1.  How often do I need to attend networking events?
2.  What types of events do I need to attend?
3.  What goals should I have for each event?

4.  What is my follow up procedure for each event?
5.  How much money should I budget for my networking activities?
6.  Is there a different model of networking that works better for me?
7.  How will I measure the results?

These seven questions will give you a great start at figuring out if you are on the networking path to success or if you have found a dead-end.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Well Taught Lesson

What can I learn from an orange cat?  Many things, especially in the networking world!

You see, last winter, that ferocious winter, all of a sudden an orange tabby appeared on our doorstep.  When I opened the door the first time, he walked right in.  I put him out because my hubby said that he didn't want the cat inside.  Of course, we had the slobbery dog in, but that is a different story.

So the feline stayed out ALL winter.  I guess with all the snow, he must have created an warm little igloo under the front porch, because that seemed to be his home.  I did decide to feed him, figuring that if his tummy was full, he would stay warm.

He stayed around all summer, coming to sit with me when I sat on either of the two porches.  He let me know that he was happy to be around.

Let me make this long story, short!  He is now inside.  Hubby changed his mind.  "Kitty" is the nicest cat I have ever had.  He is very loving, well-behaved and still likes to earn his keep by heading out to catch a mouse or two.

What's this have to do with networking?  Well, think about it.  He stayed around and developed a relationship over the long term.  He won me over pretty early on, but the big challenge was Steve.  That's the same as connecting with someone in the human world and then continuing to connect!  Some networkers think that if they just see a person one time, then the relationship should be profitable.  If it is not they are not willing to put in any extra time.

They could take a lesson from "Kitty."

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

December Book Report - The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player

Don Kardux is helping us to be better at business with his monthly book reports.  Make sure you read to the end to see his challenge.

Don begins, "This past April I reported on a book by Patrick Lencioni, which focused on Team Work it was titled ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’.
I’ve used that book in helping a number of the management teams understand the importance of, Trust, Healthy Conflict, Commitment, Accountability and Focusing on Results.’ 

How, about seventeen more areas on which to focus?
Actually, John C. Maxwell adds only fifteen different qualities (he also believes in Commitment and Results) but instead of setting his ideas in the context of a story his format is this:
1.      A few quotations from notable sources.
2.      A short story concerning a famous person relating to the specific quality.
3.      ‘Fleshing it out’ - John adds his thoughts.
4.      Bringing it home – specific methods you could use to implement this quality.
Maxwell is an interesting and pithy writer and his observations are always on the mark.
Here are the seventeen:
1.      Adaptable
2.      Collaborative
3.      Committed
4.      Communicative
5.      Competent
6.      Dependable
7.      Disciplined
8.      Enlarging
9.      Enthusiastic
10.   Intentional
11.  Mission Conscious
12.  Prepared
13.  Relational
14.  Self-Improving
15.  Selfless
16.  Solution Oriented
17.  Tenacious

Can you guess which famous character would be the example for which quality?
·         Quincy Jones
·         Jonas Salk
·         Christopher Reeve
·         King Edward I
·         William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson
·         Mary Hays aka. Molly Pitcher
·         Ronald Reagan
·         John Walsh
Can’t connect the person with the quality?
Guess you will have to read the book.
It’s worth it!"

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Your Read for the Month

Don Kardux is at it again providing us with a great book report.  I love the cover of this month's choice.  Read below!

While I’ve worked with over 36 different industries, a majority of my clients have been HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) companies. So, in addition to a superb story, there were three indicators that drew my attention to review this book.

First, the author, Mark Matteson is a well known figure in HVAC circles. Mark is an international speaker, a mentor to many contractors and the author of several books. I’ve heard about Mark for some time but never took the time to really check him out.

Secondly, the main character in the book is Mike Johnson an HVAC contractor and I had never heard of an HVAC contractor being the focus of fiction. I mean written. I mean clearly identified as fiction in a book form.

Third, Roy Hauser (a client and dear friend) kept talking about Mark and recently, Roy handed me an audio version of “A Simple Choice” and asked me to return it in a month.

Usually, I say something like, “This book is a good read.” But, I can’t say that because I didn’t read it. I can say this. 

It was a great ‘listen’.

Having the author read the book to you as you ride from place to place adds a dimension to the experience. Mark knows how to interpret because of all people he knows exactly what each character sounds like.

This is the story of Mike Johnson, who lost his wife and son to the actions of a drunk driver and in his anguish and pain allowed drinking to almost destroy his remaining relationships and his HVAC business.
This is the story of Franklin Robinson an eighty plus year old parts runner and his dog Socrates. Franklin reminds me of the angel trying to earn his wings in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” 

You see, Franklin just shows up in Mike’s life at exactly the right moment. He shows up when Mike is reaching for the gun or when he can’t see the approach he might take to reestablish relationships or his business.

Those of us who support the ‘Servant Leader’ philosophy of business will find this book as one of the best practical explanations of how this philosophy is implemented in a real way.

Alcoholism, redemption, best business practices and a way to live as a complete human being are all integrated in this book.  

What is the ‘Simple Choice’?.
I won’t tell you here except this ‘Simple to say… Hard to do”.
It is well worth the read.
No, I can’t say that.
It’s well worth the listen and I’ll bet, worth the read too.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Treat Others as They Want to be Treated!

I attended a trade show recently as a visitor, not an exhibitor.  The very first booth I stopped at, I tried to engage the woman to find out more about the business she was representing.  At some point she asked me what I did.  I gave her my one sentence statement that I usually use when asked that question. 
We chatted a bit more (about her) and then I asked for and reached for one of the business cards displayed.  She said, "Those are generic cards, they don't have my name."  I asked if I could have one with her name.  Her reply was, "If all you're planning to do is to try to sell me sales training, then I don't want to give it to you."  I replied that it was not my plan; that I like to have resources that I can refer my clients to, but that it was OK, I would not bother her.  And I moved on.

I will be exhibiting this week at a trade show and as a result of my experience above, I am reminding myself to:

1.  Be kind to everyone. 
2.  Be courteous to all that are showing interest in some way. 
3.  Remember that I don't know who I'm talking to.  They may be or know the very prospect I've been trying to do business with. 
4.  Have a nice way to send people on their way...after all they have been a guest in my office (booth) away from the office!
Am I forgetting anything? 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

October's Book - Leadership is an Art

Here is our monthly contribution from Don Kardux, providing us with the book-of-the-month to read!

Don begins:  "I’m Dutch and proud of it. Grew older not up in Holland…. Michigan.

Yes, there are pictures of me at three and four years of age in full Dutch costume standing in a field of Tulips. (Debby's note:  now that's an image we should include here!)
I marched in the Holland High School marching band at ‘Tulip Time’ (our May celebration of the mighty Tulip and dollar).  I marched wearing wooden shoes and 12 pair of sweat sox (blister preventers).

We have contributed to catchy phrases, “Dutch Treat” (everybody pays) “Dutch courage” (Whiskey) and the famous “Red light” district in Amsterdam.  But, we have a positive presence. The Dutch are famous furniture makers.

Holland is twenty miles west of Grand Rapids- “Furniture City” and less than four miles west of Zeeland.
Zeeland is the home of Herman Miller Furniture and Herman Miller CEO (at the time- late eighty’s ) was a Dutch gentleman named, Max De Pree.

Max is ninety years old, now, and the book he wrote in 1987 changed my life. Our company's (Business Navigators) approach to helping managers become leaders echoes his philosophy.

James O’Toole, University of Southern California- Graduate School of Business, in the original introduction wrote:
“I got my first chance to visit a Herman Miller factory, I was give carte blanche to go anywhere and talk to anyone, managers and workers. The only problem was that I couldn’t tell one from the other! People who seemed to be production workers were engaged in solving the ‘managerial’ problems of improving productivity and quality. People who seemed to be managers had their sleeves rolled up and were working side by side, with everybody else in an all out effort to produce the best products in the most effective way. ‘The signs of outstanding leadership are found in the followers, ‘Max writes in this wonderful little book.”

Max relates, in his introduction, “Leadership is an art, something to be learned over time, not simply by reading books. Leadership is more tribal than scientific, more a weaving of relationships than an amassing of information, and, in that sense, I don’t how to pin it down in detail”
Finally, on page 11, Max says, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor. That sums up the progress of an artful leader.”

Between the two… it’s the dash following the birth of an idea and followed by the end.

In 148 pages ‘The Art of Leadership’ is more than a good read. It’s a great way to live your life!"

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How Far Will You Go?

A couple weeks ago our one year old Yellow Lab just seemed to disappear into thin air.  Hubby, Steve, had taken Gable outside after dinner.  Soon I heard Steve calling and calling for our pet.  Since we live on 13 acres, Gable does like to go exploring out in the field.  After awhile I realized that I STILL heard Gable's name being called.  Even though I was trying to complete a project, I decided that I should go outside to help.  Steve decided to widen the search by driving around our country block yelling Gable's name out the window of his truck.  He asked me to sit at the end of our long driveway to perhaps see the dog coming back home from the west and having to cross the busy road.  

I sat there for over two hours and it was starting to get dark.  Steve was still out in the truck.  All of a sudden a mini-van pulled into our driveway and the driver asked if we had lost a dog.  Sure enough Gable was sitting there big as anything in her car.  

She, Kristie, a teacher, was on her way to her school's open house when she spotted Gable out on the road.  She stopped and opened her car door and of course our friendly mutt climbed right in.  She didn't have time to find out where he belonged because she had to be at school, so she dropped him off at her mom's for the 1 1/2 hours of the open house.  Gable had tags, which identified our vet.  When Kristie called the vet, they said that they were sorry, but they could not help until the next morning when they went into their office.  Not to be deferred, she decided to drive back to the area and stop at a few houses.  When she saw me sitting at the end of the drive, she decided to stop.  And of course a very happy end to a very scary story.

But here's the thought for the day.  Kristie really went out of her way to help save this animal from sure death on the busy road.  She helped complete strangers and really went the extra mile.  

My question to you is, how far are you willing to go out of your way to help someone you know?  
Are you willing to make ten phone calls to get an introduction that a networking friend wants to someone else? 
Would you bring a boatload of friends to an event to help another friend who is hosting the event? 
Will you spend your own money to help promote a friend's business offering.

Are you a Kristie? 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

September's Book to Read

Don Kardux is back with another fascinating book report.  It makes me want to download this book immediately and spent the day reading it!

Here it is!

My good friend and one of my librarians, Kate S, recommended this wonderful book.

Michael Gelb has an interesting premise.

Amazon said it this way, “Genius is made, not born. And human beings are gifted with an almost unlimited potential for learning and creativity. Now you can uncover your own hidden abilities, sharpen your senses, and liberate your unique intelligence—by following the example of the greatest genius of all time, Leonardo Da Vinci.”

I won’t argue with the premise, but this book has opened some very interesting observations.

Part one sets the stage clarifying in 45 pages the “Dark Ages” through the “Renaissance” as well as anything I’ve read before.  He ends this part by revealing how Da Vinci was ahead of his time. Just the headings on page 45 shows how he predated the great thinkers of the world.

·         40 years before Copernicus
·         60 years before Galileo
·         200 years before Newton
·         400 years before Darwin

The meat of this book is in the remaining 264 pages.

Michael’s approach is to reveal Da Vinci’s ‘Seven principles of behavior’ and follows each with questions we can ask ourselves so that we might move closer to Da Vinci’s genius.

Here is his summary of the Seven Da Vincian Principles.

  • 1.     Curiosita-An insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning.

  • 2.   Dimostrazione- A commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistakes

  • 3.     Senazione- The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight,as the means to enliven experience.

  • 4.     Sfumato- (literally “Going Up In Smoke”)- A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.

  • 5.   Arte/Scienza- The development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination. “Whole-brain” thinking.

  • 6.     Corporalita – The cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise.

  • 7.  Connessione- A recognition of and appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things and phenome.na. Systems thinking.

I often relate the quality of books I read to food. From ‘Cotton Candy” to “Steak and potatoes”. ‘Thinking like Leo’ is a feast lasting for several weeks.

The author’s summary at the end of his discussion concerning ‘Mind Mapping’ is illustrative of his approach.
“Look at your life mind map from the perspective of the Seven Da Vincian principles”
1.     Curiosita-         Am I asking the right questions?

2.    Dimostrazione- How can I improve my ability to learn from my mistakes and experiences? How can I develop and independence of thought?

3.     Senazione- What is my plan for sharpening my senses as I age?

4.     Sfumato- How can I strengthen my ability to hold creative tension to embrace the major paradoxes of life?

5.     Arte/Scienza- Am I balancing Arte and Scienza at home and at work?

6.     Corporalita – How can I nurture the balance of body and mind?

7.     Connessione-  How do all the above elements fit together? How does everything connect to everything else?

Thinking like Leo doesn’t have to be read in a linnear fashion. In other words if you want to start with ‘Senazione” you can however, reading ‘Part One’ first is a must.

This is one of the best examples of a ‘Come back to it’ book I can think of using.

Bon Appetite