As I make my way around the business and investment communities, too often I see and hear examples of businesses that have terrific potential but just need a boost to turn potential into reality. More often than not, what they need MOST is a plan to move from concept to commercial success.Continue reading
Last week, I had the pleasure of listening to Lon Safko, co-author of the Social Media Bible speak to a group of counselors from SCORE and the SBDC as a prelude to Greater Phoenix SCORE’s Social Media Event this January 14th and 15th.
During his presentation, Lon kept emphasizing the reasons, excellent ones BTW, that businesses need to pay attention to and utilize social media. And repeatedly he punctuated his message with a continuing theme…Oh Yes! It’s FREE!
But is it?Continue reading
Each year in January, I try to plan my calendar to meet with friends in the first two weeks. I have a diverse group of friends ranging from entrepreneurs to folks from corporate America, from local community volunteers to national leaders, and from neighbors to old school chums.Continue reading
You’ve probably had the experience where through the diverse objectives and perspectives of the people on your team, what you set out to create and what you got where not exactly the same. As concessions are made to reach a point of consensus, a completely different animal begins to takes shape.Continue reading
The year 2009 will be a year to remember- fondly by some and less by others. But however you feel about this year soon past – 2010 is just around the corner. (Or as my Aussie friends remind me – It’s already here!)
As the clock strikes Twelve – New Years tradition is to gather with friends and family to wish them well – sing a song and exchange an embrace. We’ve all heard the song and probably sung it – most of us badly – at least I have.
It is believed Robert Burns wrote the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne in the 1700’s. (Most say in 1788.) The 1700’s were challenging years for the Scots – and in January of 1788 – it was the passing of an era with the death at 68 of the long exiled Bonnie Prince Charlie.
As we sing Auld Lang Syne to this challenging decade of zero years, let’s take a page from from the song and put it behind us with fond memories of what was good and focus in on where and why we might raise our ‘cup of kindness’ to the decade to come.
Looking Back on the Big Zero
The decade of the Big Zero was not all bad – it had it’s highs and it’s lows. But the highs for me included starting my own company (CorePurpose turns 8 in July), publishing my first book, leading an inspiring team at ASBA for two years, working with the team at Parenting Arizona and OTEF to make a lasting difference in our community, helping RiboMed move forward in it’s quest for new methods of early cancer detection so we can catch it early and stop the spread before it harms the ones we love, and watching my sons grow from boys into men that their Dad and I can be very proud if. All in all, not a bad list.
Looking forward to the Big One
As I look towards 2010 and beyond – let’s call it the Decade of the BIG ONE – I’m starting a To Do List – not resolutions to break – just actions to take.
- Help someone find a job they love.
- Have lunch with a friend to share ideas on a regular basis
- Pick an OLD Problem and Solve at it in a NEW way at least every other day.
- Recognize someone’s leadership potential and commit to be their mentor
- Accomplish ‘Small Things” as suggested by Rebel Brown in this post at Phoenix Rising.
- Dust off that Five Year Plan and Refine it for 2010 and beyond
- Identify What We Do Best – Focus our energies there and outsource the rest
- Zero in on finding my QUEST company and get it growing.
- Help my son Nick (he’s 18) write his business plan for HIS dream business so that when he writes his 2019 Look Back List he can say – “The Decade of the Big One was when I launched my business – and look what we have achieved.”
So, there you have it – my Look Back List and my To Do List going forward. Have you started yours?
Thanks for stopping – best wishes for a Safe and Happy New Years and a record breaking 2010 and beyond. Get ready – this decade will be the BIG ONE.
This year I got an extra special treat – I got to meet and get to know Kathy Kolbe.
I had known about Kathy’s work for years and had my own Kolbe A™ Index done in 2005. (My M.O. is 4-3-9-2) Since then, I have used the Kolbe Assessment Tool Set and Kolbe certified consultants to gain insights into creating high performance teams. But it was not until we started chatting on Twitter that Kathy and I actually set a date to get together for lunch and started to share ideas.
About a month later, at Kathy’s suggestion, I got certified myself so that I could better apply the power of understanding my own innate abilities to what I do an and learn how to use Kolbe Wisdom™ to make the most of the natural strengths of others in my home life, at work, and in my various community activities.
I continue to learn something new about conation every time I listen to Kathy (here’s a podcast she did recently with Koren Motekaitus) or by following @KathyKolbe on Twitter. Here is an article Martha Beck wrote in O Magazine about the Kolbe Index.
Understanding what my natural strengths are and how I can make the best use of them has been a huge advantage for me over the years. So when I started the “People Making a Difference Series on Little Life Stories – Kathy was a natural to interview.
An Interview with Kathy Kolbe – the world’s leading expert on Conation.
JKW: Kathy, I hear your name every time someone talks about Conative Abilities. How would YOU describe yourself?
KK: Theorist by nature, entrepreneur by preference & writer by pure determination, I’m also a severe dyslexic who has created paths to my freedom to be me. I strive to develop expertise & opportunities to help others do the same.
As the author of 100+ books & programs teaching creative problem solving for kids – thru my biz, Resources for the Gifted -Time Magazine named me (1985 Man of the Year article) 1 of 7 people representing America’s Can-Do Spirit.
Shortly after, a near-fatal car accident left me unable to walk, talk, read or write. I’d been exploring little known instinct-driven conative actions & reactions, and this provided the unique opportunity to experience the isolated use of that source of personal power. The recovery process gave me a higher education in the conative part of the mind. When the book I later wrote (Conative Connection) became a best seller, it was clear that my life’s work was to help others discover the power of the differing but equal innate abilities I’d unearthed. I do that through Kolbe Corp and the non-profit Center for Conative Abilities.
JKW: Many companies are learning the importance of understanding conation in the workplace – but it does not stop there. You’ve shared some great examples with me. Would you share one with our readers?
KK: A favorite application of my work is what happened when I was helping a CEO build and lead his exec team. He asked if I could also help with family problems. His wife and 16 and 12 year old kids completed the Kolbe A Index or Kolbe Youth Indexes, and by phone we discussed natural conflicts in their MOs (or Kolbe Index results). His wife came to realize she was on his son’s case because he didn’t stick to her sense of order. She was also uncomfortable with her husband’s innate degree of risk taking. The daughter, who they feared was ADD, was actually able to thrive once they understood her conative need for hands-on, multitasking activities. In three teleconferences, a family in crisis became one with an appreciation – even a sense of humor – about their differing instinctive responses to one another. And, like a doctor who faces family illnesses, the CEO became a better leader.
JKW: You have inspired thousands. Who inspires you?
KK: My greatest inspiration has come from my grandchildren. When I see their joy when they have the freedom to be themselves, their persistence in overcoming obstacles, their compassion for each others’ conative needs, and the great wisdom in how they use this information, I am in awe of both the power within them and the way they put it to use.
JKW: Why do you do what you do?
KK: I do what I do because it is what I believe I was meant to do. I am fulfilling my sense of purpose.
JKW: If you had three wishes, what would they be?
KK: Wish #1 – That every human being knew the nature of his or her instinct-driven conative powers, found joy in it, humor in their differences from others, and had the freedom to use it purposefully.
Wish #2 – That our culture would stop pathologizing conative strengths (false ADD and other misdiagnoses ) and stereotyping these universal traits by gender, age , and race (“men are more mechanically inclined”).
Wish #3 – That the combination of human intelligence, compassion, and conative creativity could be used to rid humankind of poverty, pain and wars against one another.
A Special Gift from Kathy Kolbe
Kathy Kolbe’s gift to all of us is the ability to better understand HOW we will do what we do to solve problems, find solutions, and get things done. Understanding our personal M.O. (Modus Operandi) and identifying our natural talents helps us understand how we do our best work and why certain things come so easily to us while others do not.
Kathy even has set up a special page on her website just for you as a thank you for reading this post. For a limited time, you, our readers can receive a 20% discount ($10.00 off) on the Kolbe A™ Index. See offer and more information at: http://kolbe.com/jkw .
When you take your Kolbe A™ Index, be sure to listen to the audio portions of your report, recorded specially for you by Kathy. They are incredibly helpful.
Plus – as a special gift from me (I can’t let Kathy do ALL the work) – I’ll be happy to spend an hour with you on the phone or via Skype chatting about how you can put this knowledge to work for you. Just send me a note by clicking on this contact link. In your note, include Your Name (exactly as you entered it in the Kolbe system) your four number MO (mine is 4-3-9-2) and your email address so I can review your report and get back to you to set up a time.
Taking the Kolbe A™ Index is the first step to learning how to emphasize the things that come most naturally to you and how to stop fighting your natural instincts. Isn’t that a great way to kick off 2010!
Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned…
For information on Kolbe Corp copyrights and trademarks, click here
I first met Michael Gerber in November of 2006 when he generously gave of his time and knowledge to come to Phoenix as a volunteer to speak at the First Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference. OTEF was a fledgling organization in those days – but we had a dream – to provide entrepreneurial education, mentoring, and support to at risk populations in finding economic sustainability through entrepreneurship. To do that we needed the funds to offer programs and the conference was a way to share our message and raise the funds to pursue the dream. Our project captured Michael’s imagination.
Since that day, we’ve had the opportunity to get to know each other better. During my years as CEO at the ASBA, Michael was a wonderful supporter, sharing his knowledge on teleconferences with our members, coming, with his wife Luz Delia, to share in the celebration of the 2007 Arizona Companies to Watch, sharing ideas with me and our small business community at the Enterprise Business Conference in 2008 to celebrate Small Business Week, and best of all inviting me to The Dreaming Room and plopping me down in the Hot Seat for a challenging one on one session.
Over the years he has had many titles – but my favorite – is Chief Dreamer. When you get to know him, you see how important the dream is to him and to the tens of thousands of entrepreneurs he has worked with.
In the video below from the Cisco Innovators Forum, Michael shares some of his thoughts on how entrepreneurs can get it right from the beginning. After the video – I have a few questions of my own to ask the one and only Michael Gerber.
“A life without a dream is a life without a purpose. A life without a purpose is a life without meaning.” Michael Gerber
JKW: Michael, in your books, seminars, and programs, you share the secrets of entrepreneurial success. You have spent decades sharing these secrets – WHY do you do it?
MG: What else would I do? Everywhere I look, people are suffering for a lack of direction. During my life I have worked with thousands of those people, and as they begin to see their lives through the entrepreneurial prism dramatic shifts occur. It’s a fantastic feeling to witness those shifts.
JKW: You have made a career helping entrepreneurs succeed in achieving their dreams. Have you always been successful or was there a time when something happened that others would term an entrepreneurial failure? If so, how did you recover?
MG: I’ve had so many failures I can’t count them. In fact, I don’t even want to, the pain is too great. But, at the same time, my failures have always led to successes. Not necessarily connected, perhaps, but the one, the failure, taught the other, the success, that the deliberate straightforward path is not always the best path, that the success is most often realized as an epiphany that arises out of the failure in a completely unexpected fashion. So, I have come to look forward to the unexpected.
JKW: You have written over 13 books for entrepreneurs and you have a new one being released in January 2010. Can you give us a little sneak peak at what it’s all about?
MG: It’s name is The Most Successful Small Business In The World: The Ten Principles. It speaks to the essence of what I believe must exist in an enterprise, and an entrepreneur’s relationship with it, for it to truly flourish. You’ll have to read it to find out the secret.
JKW: When you are not writing, speaking, and inspiring others, I know that you like to read – a lot. Whose book inspires you – and why?
MG: I read fiction, not business. I rarely read anything to do with business. The reason is, I don’t learn from books, I learn from action. On the other hand, I highly recommend that all small business owners and entrepreneurs read my books. Because unlike all other business books, my books are born out of the actions I’ve taken, and the conclusions I’ve reached as a result of those actions. In short, they are less books, than they are cautionary tales.
JKW: You and I have talked about social media, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter as it has been evolving. So Michael, do you tweet?
MG: Not yet, but soon.
JKW: I’ve heard that this year, as a special gift, you are hosting a FREE con call on New Year’s Day with entrepreneurs to help them kick the year off right. How can our readers participate?
MG: Very easy. Just call in at +1 (866) 951-1151 (Conference Code Number: 1984938# )
It starts at 4 p.m. PST and will last 90 minutes. I do this every year, but this year is special, as my new book comes out on January 6th, and during my Teleconference I’ll be sharing The Ten Principles for creating the most successful small business in the world.
JKW: Thanks so much Michael for taking the time to answer a few questions. As you know, I always have more. I guess I’ll just write them down and heave them ready for when I see you in Phoenix for a Meet Up on January 25th. (Readers: Stay tuned to @joankw for more details in January.) Who knows – maybe some of our readers will be there too and have new questions for both of us.
So readers, what do YOU think. Are you ready to kick off the new year right? I’ll be on the call – will you?
Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned…
One of the most important jobs of a leader is a simple one.
Say “Thank You” and recognize the hard work of others.
This photo, taken a number of years ago, popped up on in my son’s Facebook stream the other day. It had been posted by his friend Nick Roa and it reminded me of an important lesson that applies to leaders of all ages.
At the age of 13, my son Christopher was having a blast playing on his travel hockey team. His coaches instituted a great practice of having the players take turns saying “thank you” to the wait-staff in the restaurants where the team would gather with parents after each game. One night in Tucson, the boys voted for chicken wings and Hooter’s for dinner after the game. So that evening, young Chris had to stand on a chair, surrounded by beautiful women and make a speech thanking his team mates for a game well played and the ladies for their hard work. He did a great job. (It’s not everyday a leader gets to make a speech standing on a chair in a crowded restaurant surrounded by a bevy of beauties.)
There are a myriad of opportunities to say “Thank You” and even more ways to do so. Here are just a few:
- Instead of having the mail room pass out paychecks, have them sent to you and deliver them personally with a handshake, a smile, or a bit of praise on something that that person has done for the team.
- Pick up the telephone and speak to someone – a novel concept these days. Thank them for their business, their friendship, their support – make it meaningful and don’t expect or ask for anything in return.
- Double that Gratuity – the next time you are out to eat and the service is good. Don’t just write in the TIP on the slip – tell the waiter or waitress WHY you did it. This economy has caused restaurants to cut back on staff – so waiters and waitresses are doing more and in many cases getting smaller tips. It may just be a few dollars and a minute out of your day but it can mean A LOT to them.
- Carry an envelope of Dollar Bills and put them in every little red kettle you see. Then, THANK the Bell Ringer. Not only are you supporting the charitable efforts of the Salvation Army in helping people who need it – but you are recognizing the efforts of volunteers who stand for hours – in all types of weather – ringing that little brass bell.
- Thank someone for doing the little things. It may inspire them to do something big. You don’t have to ration Thank You’s – you never run out.
As 2009 comes to a close, many of us may feel that we have less to be thankful for than in other years. But, if you start to think about it and look for opportunities and ways to say thanks, you will find that they are all around you and that when you start looking for them – you’ll feel better about yourself AND get better results at work, at home, and in your community. Now that is something to be thankful for.
So, “Thank You” Reader – for stopping by. Stay tuned…
It was 30 years ago, that Summer between my Junior and Senior years of college. I was living with my parents in Danbury, Connecticut and had started dating the boy across the cul-de-sac. One Sunday afternoon, we went out on our boat – Me and my Dad – and that boy and his Dad. We were cruising around Candlewood Lake and anchored across from “Chicken Rock”.
“So, who’s ready to risk it?” – my Dad joked.
Everyone was laughing but I was game. I dove off the bow, swam to shore and started to climb. I was game – but not crazy. I climbed to the mid point – about 15 feet up – and jumped into the lake. As I was swimming back to the boat, my Dad started yelling and pointing at the rock. I looked back just in time to see that boy. He had climbed to the highest point – and dove in head first. Dad even caught it with his camera.
Ya gotta love a guy that’s willing to risk it all.
I did. Five years later, I married him.
What, you may be asking, does this have to do with entrepreneurship? Well, it’s not that different. Many will tell you, at one point or another – you have to calculate the risk and take that leap.
Entrepreneurs are a rare breed. We…
- assess risk
- weigh outcomes
- institute a plan
- execute it
And when we do it well – we reap the reward.
Sometimes when you take that risk – you end up building a really great business…
and sometimes when you take the leap – you get the girl. :0)
Thanks for stopping by. Stay Tuned…
Few companies will argue that that customer service is important. We see messages relating to the importance of customers appear in mission statements, value statements, and strategic plans on a regular basis.
Yet, when you call these same companies, too often you reach not a customer sensitive employee, but instead an automated voice response unit or VRU. These marvels of efficiency creating technology are happy to give you a wealth of choices – often without an obvious or expedient option to talk to a real person. Worse, when you actually discover the secret code, you get a very pleasant voice sharing with you that ‘due to high call volume, your call will be answered in ____ minutes.” Sometimes the wait time is short, others not so short. My favorite was the company that shared how important I was as a customer and that the anticipated wait time was FORTY MINUTES. Then to add insult to injury, their hold message was bragging about their recent prestigious award for customer service!
Yes, reducing costs and increasing efficiencies is important. But, be sure you understand the REAL message you deliver to your customers by your service or lack of it.
As you can see in this humorous clip from my friend Dave Griffiths (@Bensonix on Twitter) automatons don’t make the best customer service agents or tech support staff.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay Tuned…