'Magical Management

Magical Management

May 30, 2023

Have you ever been in a business situation that made you so frustrated that you wanted to pull your hair out? Take a restroom break for the remainder of the day?

If you are like most of us, you have. And if you haven’t, count your blessings.

I can still remember one of the worst—and the action that saved the day.

The managers in the company had been called together to come up with a solution to a problem that was affecting morale, productivity, and revenue. We started with the usual brainstorming exercise to put every possible solution on the table.

So far, so good.

But then, we had to narrow the choices down to three. And that’s where the trouble began. Try as we might, even with a skilled facilitator, we couldn’t decide where we should focus our efforts.

We spent over an hour talking about a few options and nothing seemed to fit the bill. People held fast to their preferred choices, but just could not persuade others that those choices would bring about the required change.

She was dressed in business clothes, but that facilitator should have been wearing a magician’s cape and carrying a wand. She guided us to a solution as magically as pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

Here’s how.

She drew this table on the whiteboard.


Control Influence Neither


She then asked us to group our proposed solutions into those three categories. What could we as managers control? What could we influence in a way that either solved the problem or moved it in the direction of control? What could we neither control nor influence?

It surprised us – and maybe it will you, too – that we were spending most of our attention on things that fell into that far right column. No wonder we couldn’t agree! Who would want to choose a solution that they had no power to implement?

That wise facilitator suggested that we spend the remainder of our time on the options in the control column and come to consensus on which of them to implement and how we would do so.

It’s no exaggeration to say we all breathed a big sigh of relief and that we felt better about ourselves, each other, and the problem.

Seems simple. And it is.

But sometimes, we lose sight of this wisdom amid pressing problems or disagreements.

Put this table in your management toolbox. Take it out the next time your team can’t seem to come to agreement on something.

Who knows? Maybe something magical will happen.


Chris Ann Williams, CEO

'Business Advice from Birds

Business Advice from Birds

May 17, 2023



Have you ever noticed that business lessons can pop up in the most unexpected places?  And when you least expect them?

I was sitting in my backyard the other day enjoying the sun and two hummingbirds caught my eye. The birds would flit this way and that.  They would stop suddenly to check out a flower, and then be on their way to their next inquisitive stop.

All this action caused me to think about how a hummingbird can do that. How they and other birds (or airplanes for that matter) manage to get and stay airborne.

It all comes down to the basic laws of aerodynamics:

Lift + Thrust must be greater than Load + Drag.

When lift plus thrust is greater than load plus drag, birds fly. So do planes.

The same thing applies to your business, doesn’t it?

Your lift is your enthusiasm, plan, knowledge, team, coach, mentor, systems and all the tools that support your business. The thrust is your focused actions that create momentum toward your goal.

Now consider the load and drag…distractions, busy work, fear, resistance, conflict, toxic employees, procrastination.

When load and drag are greater than lift plus thrust, your business stalls, stagnates or fails. You miss opportunities, fall short of your goal, and probably lose money.

When lift plus thrust is greater than load plus drag, your business takes off and prospers. You become airborne, reaching, or even exceeding your goal.

Now is a good time to make sure that you will be airborne for the rest of the year to reach your goals.

Time to boost your lift and thrust and cut down on the load and drag. It’s the time when you really must simplify what you do, laser focus on your end-of-year goal, and step into the prosperous life you wanted when you started your business.

Half the year is almost gone. Take time now to close your revenue gap or accelerate beyond your target. Put aside the things that are “nice” to do in favor of only the critical things to do.

Before you take off for a summer of sun, make sure that those critical actions that will lead you to where you want to be are clearly identified and that they can be sustained even with vacations.  You know where you want to be, right??

Your plan for the next few weeks is simple. We call it the Critical Success Factor Formula. Maybe we should nickname it the Hummingbird Formula:

  • Write down your goal (measurable)
  • Determine the (no more than) 3-4 Critical Success Factors (strategies) that MUST be done to take you to your goal
  • Only do the actions that put the Critical Success Factors into play; everything else gets put aside. We mean it! If it doesn’t support a Critical Success Factor, take it off your list.

If you break every other rule in business, follow this one. Think “lift plus thrust.”  And eliminate the “load plus the drag.”

You can do it. Take a lesson from the hummingbirds and fly!


Chris Ann Williams, CEO

'Coloring Outside the Lines

Coloring Outside the Lines

May 10, 2023


Do you remember when you first learned to color? You picked up a crayon and put green or blue or yellow anywhere you wanted on the page. It was beautiful.

Then one day, perhaps in pre-school or kindergarten, somebody handed you a sheet of paper with a picture already drawn and asked you to color it. First, you still put the color anywhere you wanted to on the page, right over the top of the picture.

But finally, the rules won out. You were expected to color inside the lines. And then, color inside the lines with equal pressure on the crayon, always in the same direction. Coloring became more of an assignment and less of an expression of who you are.

Talking about coloring inside the lines became a metaphor for playing by the rules, doing what was expected, completing a picture that someone else had created.

How did that feel?

If you are like me – and like many of our clients – you had just a little bit of resistance and rebellion inside you. A desire to draw your own picture.

That’s why you started your own business, right? No more coloring inside the lines for you! Or so you thought.

But sooner or later, you found yourself needing a little bit of guidance, at least a few lines on the page to give shape or form to what you were trying to create. Something to allow others to recognize what it is that you are offering.

So, how do you avoid going entirely back to using your color to brighten someone else’s picture without any trace of your own vision?

Be a Picasso – “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.

That’s what business coaching is all about. We help you to understand the rules and how things work so that you can decide where and how to apply them to your business and when to ignore them entirely.

There are some rules that may be inflexible such as paying your bills and your taxes. Other rules have more flexibility within very broad parameters. And still other rules can be broken if you are creative enough and have the courage to create your own picture.

You choose – be the dutiful student who colors inside the lines or be a Picasso.

I can’t wait to see your picture.


Chris Ann Williams, CEO