Make Time for Reflection

December 11, 2019

It’s that time of year. The time where endings and beginnings are all jumbled up together.

Planning for the year to come bumps up against the scramble to complete everything that still needs to be done this year.

Our brains…and our schedules…are overcrowded. It’s natural to think that there couldn’t possibly be time for reflection.

The truth is there couldn’t be a more perfect time. This is when learning becomes leading.

At the end of the year, we have all the evidence about what’s working, what’s not working and what can work better with a little adjusting.

Success leave clues.  So does failure.

It’s our job to look at those clues carefully so that we can set the path for success in the coming year. A careful reflection brings insights that can save a lot of time, energy and stress if we use those insights to influence our decisions moving forward.

That’s what leadership is all about.

It’s about connecting the dots between past choices and future actions. Knowing what to do more of, what to do less of and what to do differently.

Year-end reflections can be personal or a team effort. Good leaders do both and use the process to understand where there are gaps between the leader’s vision and the team’s perspective.

Before you shout at me that you have no time, take a minute to think about the time you’ll waste in 2020 if you don’t take the time now.

It doesn’t need to be a crazy, complicated affair. No need to get lost in the weeds or go down the rabbit hole.

In order to do a year-end reflection, ask yourself three simple questions:

  1. What went well in 2019? – Do as much or more of this in 2020.
  2. What didn’t go well in 2019? – Do less (if any) of this next year.
  3. What came close to doing well in 2019? – Decide what to do differently that can make this a win in 2020.

The answers to these questions will give you a good foundation for where to focus your energy as you chart the course for 2020.

In the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle and the year-end rush, take time for reflection. It’s a great investment.

Go forth and do great things,

Martha Hanlon and Chris Williams

Martha & Chris

Focus on Gratitude

November 27, 2019

“Our favorite attitude should be gratitude.” – Zig Zigler

Gratitude…it’s good for business.

It’s Thanksgiving week. For most of us, now’s the time for us to reflect and express thanks for the blessings in our lives.

Why limit yourself to just a few days or weeks to focus on gratitude? Take your gratitude practice beyond the holidays. It’s a smart strategy for creating and sustaining a successful business.

Countless studies have shown that gratitude helps people become healthier, happier, and more successful. Isn’t that exactly what you and your team need for your business to thrive?

Here are just a few of the benefits of gratitude:

  • Building strong relationships– The gratitude perspective helps people to focus on the positives in themselves and others. Such a perspective reduces conflict and enhances collaboration.
  • Reducing stress and preventing burnout – Focusing on gratitude can lead to greater happiness and emotional resilience. People with more positive mental outlooks are less prone to burnout and other stress-related problems on the job.
  • Improving health –Adopting a gratitude practice can improve heart health, sleep quality, and overall wellbeing. Some studies suggest that positive health changes can be noted in as little as eight weeks of consistent gratitude practice.
  • Reducing employee turnover – Team members are motivated to work harder when they receive appreciation for their work. They’re also more likely to stay at a job longer when they feel appreciated.
  • Improving the customer experience – When your express gratitude to your customers, you have an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with them, build trust and create an experience that keeps them coming back again and again.

Getting into a regular practice of gratitude can make a big difference in your business and in your life. Doing these three things will help you to make gratitude part of your business culture:

  1. See it – Being grateful starts with recognizing the positive things that are happening every day. At work, we can get into task mode and focus on what needs to be done. Taking focused time each day to look at things with appreciative eyes will bring big improvements in your emotional and physical well-being.
  2. Speak it – It’s not enough to just notice what you’re grateful for, it’s important to express that gratitude…to your team, your family and your customers. Sharing your thanks encourages others to do the same.
  3. Systematize it. Whatever your preferred ways to show gratitude, create systems to support them. Make it easy to stay in the practice of gratitude. Try adding gratitude checkpoints to your business processes. There’s no end of ways to show you care, so play around and see what works for you and your team, then commit to it. You’ll be grateful you did!

Today and every day, we are grateful for you…our team, our colleagues and partners, and our customers. May your lives be filled with many things to be grateful for.

Go forth and do great things,

Martha Hanlon and Chris Williams

Martha and Chris

November Push

November 20, 2019

November seems to be a tricky month.

Your year isn’t over.  You’ve still got about six weeks to accelerate to your 2019 goal.

But November often feels like the year is done.  Thanksgiving; followed by shopping; followed by Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanza; followed by Boxing Day; and quickly followed by returning gifts.

All your time seems to be allocated to the max.

However, this one little thing can enable you to reach out to close a few more sales without adding more time to your crazy, filled calendar.

Eliminate all the office housework you accumulate!

It’s keeping you poor!!

A recent study found volunteering, saying “yes” to thankless stuff, is a “woman thing.”  Women volunteer for unrewarding tasks and are asked to take them on more than men.

And here’s the kicker…you likely own the business.  You’re the boss!!!  And you’re still the one volunteering and being asked to take on something.

Office housework = non-revenue-generating work

You’re taking on low risk and low reward tasks, and the odds are superior you’re about to do it again.  Like even today.

We know saying “no” can be difficult.

Yet here’s one thing that’s not hard:  not offering in the first place.

Have a look at your thinking keeping you poor.  How much office housework rests on your “To Do List?”

Identify just one thing.

Okay, identify three things.

Then take that time you’re going to get back and allocate it to reaching out to that prospect who’s “this close” to saying yes.

Same amount of time in your business.  With some junk off your plate.  Replaced by revenue-producing work.

Now that’s what I call a great exchange!

Go forth and do great things,

Martha Hanlon and Chris Williams

Martha Hanlon & Chris Williams