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Culture of creativity

Encourage feedback

survey-listDo you have a suggestion box? Have you done a survey lately?

It is important to get new input and ideas to change your perspective and consider creative and innovative approaches to challenging issues. You cannot possibly have all the answers or even know all the issues that need to be addressed, unless you get adequate feedback from employees and customers.

It is not enough to casually visit, observing, listening, and asking questions. The process needs to be both more formal and more open-ended. Solicit input from those most in the know: employees on the job, customers using the product and those suppliers and service providers with high expectations for you. Ask about processes and performance, relationships and communications, product innovation and quality, customer service and sales support, social and environmental initiatives. Give them the option of anonymous response, in case they think you cannot handle the truth.

Try not to take it personally, unless it is.

Take it all in, use what is useful and be prepared to ignore what is not, but avoid simply confirming your preconceived notions.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

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Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

I can do this

I’ve seen it done.

matsuyama-bridgestoneHideki Matsuyama surprised everyone but himself, at the WGC-Bridgestone golf tournament on Sunday, with a 9-under-par 61 that tied the course record and gave him a sudden victory by five strokes over all the contenders, including World Golf leaders, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Zach Johnson.

Matsuyama knew it was the course record and he had seen it done. He was playing in the same group when Tiger Woods shot a 61 in 2013. He knew it could be done and exactly what he needed to do to achieve it himself.

Remember, “You can achieve, what you believe,” and it’s easier to believe, if you have seen it done.

So next time you hear about it, or read about it, be sure to ask your coach, mentor, or role model, “OK, now show me.”

Be better, do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more articles like this one at: Business is Like Golf Blog

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Check outUncle Ralph’s books, Don’t Do It the Hard Way and The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans. Available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

 

Constructive, not criticism

Please, no useless commentary. 

thumbs-down“Whoa, that didn’t work out as planned.”

Thanks, but I already knew that.

If you are going to comment on my performance, please take the time to suggest something helpful. Don’t just pile on with more useless criticism. All that does is kill the enthusiasm to try again.

Every performance review will be more constructive if it starts with the positive. “The packaging looks good.” “The price is very competitive.” “Well, at least nobody died.”

Followed by, “and it would be even better, if….”

Not followed by, “but you really screwed up with….”

Decide before you speak: Is this a complaint, a useless observation, or a constructive suggestion?

If you do it yourself, then you can expect the same from your critics. If they still don’t get it, I find it helpful to conclude with, “Thank you for your input, please don’t take it personally if I choose to ignore it.”

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

Necessary, but not sufficient

You’re not there yet. 

Golf swing“Keep your head down, focus, stay calm.”

All good advice, but never sufficient to get you to the finish line with a higher level of performance. Remember there are usually a few more steps in the process of improvement.

The first step is necessary, but never sufficient to initiate real change or start seeing better results. In golf or business.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

Pick your poison

Killing key relationships 


Poison (2)There are many ways to kill important business relationships with customers, suppliers, employees, bankers or strategic partners.

But why would you want to do that?

You probably do NOT want to, but you or your staff may be doing it inadvertently. Habits and attitudes that will silently, slowly, but certainly poison relationships. Entirely contrary to your primary business objective of building loyal, long-term effective and profitable working relationships.

Most destructive to those relationships would be the ugly combination of arrogance and incompetence. It is always risky and annoying to be arrogant, but doubly damaging if you do not deliver better than you boast. Customers are very quick to observe the inconsistency and decide to look for a more satisfying experience elsewhere.

Another big obstacle to effective relationships is a manager or owner driven primarily by greed and ego. Soon evident to all, it will make recruiting and retention of employees more difficult. Personal energy and ambition may have been the driving force past initial obstacles in the start-up and early growth phases, but will not help to keep managers and employees motivated and making good decisions. Blind obedience and celebrity worship may be good for the ego, but they will not help you develop a strong self-sufficient management team.

Too entrepreneurial?

Are you too proud, confident, optimistic, independent, impatient and decisive? Maybe beyond reason? Are you ignoring helpful feedback or constructive criticism and stifling employee initiative and decision making? Leadership does not need to be lonely. Listen and learn from customers and employees.

Read the warning signings, then put the lid on tight and push the poison to the back of the shelf.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

Are you sensitive?

To rising interest rates?

balanceThe Bank of Canada rate went up Wednesday from 0.50% to 0.75%.

OMG!!! That’s a 50% increase!

Well technically yes, but in reality no.

The rate is essentially a basis for the banks to raise their rates by the same 0.25%. So if your current Line of Credit or variable rate mortgage is at 2.75% it may soon be going to 3.0%. That’s still a 7.5% increase in interest payments and may have a painful on cash flow, if you’re currently very tight. On a loan balance of $300,000 it means an additional $62.50 in interest charges per month.

More importantly, it’s an indicator of interest rates rising from the bottom (0.50% in Canada since 2015) and following the US Federal Reserve lead of last year.

Have you done a stress test?

Are you heavily leveraged because debt has been so cheap? It’s easy to justify new investments if your ROI only has to beat a borrowing cost of 2.75%. At the more normal rates of 5% – 6%, there is less margin for under-performance on assets.

Try calculating the impact of higher rates on your cash flow. It may be time to de-leverage and start building cash reserves. 

The Bank of Canada is trying to reduce the risk of high inflation by slowing growth in the economy. You are expected to take the hint. And if the interest rate is not enough to convince you, you will notice that higher rates also mean a higher value Canadian dollar, so exports will now be more difficult. Your import and foreign exchange costs will go down. (There had to be some good news in all of this.)

Be aware of what it all means to you and your business. It is not yet urgent, but it is important. Take a closer look and start cautious application of surplus cash to reducing debt. Be more selective on new investments and in commitments to any new recurring expenses.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

More celebrations

Fewer apologies 

It seems to be part of the new approach to historic anniversary celebrations to give more attention to apologizing for past failures and the sins of our ancestors than on recognizing our accomplishments and the progress we have made on all fronts since those evil events in our past.

celebrationsThe celebratory narrative is interrupted by vociferous activists and protestors directing the audience to their issues and raining on our parade. They do get our attention, but it’s not usually the time and place for constructive action on challenging issues. It is too easy to respond to the rhetoric and symbolism with more rhetoric and symbolism, instead of initiating creative and ambitious programs to make real progress. Another time and place, starting with an exchange of mutual respect and goodwill, will more likely lead to practical long-term solutions.

In life, business and politics, it is important and instructive to recognize our accomplishments as well as our failures. It is acceptable to create a mythical version of our history and who and what we are, without denying our errors and imperfections, as long as it inspires us to strive continuously to achieve those high ideals.

Apologizing is not enough. Let’s be more ambitious.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

Make work fun

A simple principle for good management

Make work fun. It really is that simple. Don’t make it more complicated.

I know, it is more complicated, but let’s try to simplify good management down to one guiding principle.

Your job as a manager is to ensure that your employees are working effectively to meet the department’s and the company’s objectives. It requires that individual objectives be in line with the objectives of the business.

happy winnerHaving fun is one objective that we can all agree on. Especially if we accept that making money is fun! For both the employee and the business.

Don’t make it more complicated. Take a look at what you have to change or fix, so that work is more fun. Provide leadership, remove obstacles, give recognition. Everything else will take care of itself. They will get the job done and meet their objectives. And you will meet yours.

All the while, everybody is having fun. See, it really is that simple.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

Annoying disturbances

To Prevent, Avoid or Ignore

mosquitos- (2)A pleasant walk in the sunshine this morning was interrupted first by the dive-bombing red-winged blackbirds along the riverside, then by the swarms of annoying mosquitoes in the woods.

Back at the office it may continue. The noisy air-conditioning, the neighbour listening to the ranting on talk radio, or the constant interruptions by telemarketers. You only have three choices in dealing with annoying disturbances: Prevent. Avoid. Ignore.

They may not all be available. They easiest and most obvious reaction may not be the best long term solution. Cursing and swatting at the blackbirds and mosquitoes didn’t seem to help.

But if your productivity, performance or enjoyment are being adversely affected, it’s worth recognizing that ignoring the annoying disturbance is not working. Try the prevent or avoid solution.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at: Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

Evolving

People and processes

The founder and CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, is stepping aside because his combative personality and the culture he created at Uber are no longer in line with the business’s need to be both more stable and predictable and more socially responsible and engaged with the communities where it is operating. His ruthlessly aggressive style has successfully created a ride-sharing industry and grown it to a billion dollar global business, but he had bruised relationships with everyone – employees, drivers, customers, service suppliers, regulators and politicians. Those partners that Uber needs to succeed were instead creating obstacles and seeking more compatible alternatives. It has been clear for some time that change was required at Uber – in leadership, style and processes – if global expansion was to continue. Kalanick finally got the message.

stressed employeeWhat about your business? Are the right people in the right place? Are you?

Has your business evolved beyond the capabilities of the people who got you started? Back then you were looking for energy, enthusiasm, entrepreneurial spirit and people willing to do whatever was required without costing too much. In the early stages, you, your partner and the office manager were all willing and able to do the sales, administration and customer service, make the coffee in the morning and set the alarm at night. The technician was also the shipper-receiver and the receptionist was also secretary and bookkeeper. The business was smaller and life was simpler.

Now you need more specialized expertise with knowledgeable and experienced management all working together effectively using more sophisticated technology and tools for marketing, sales and customer service, managing more employees with widely varied backgrounds, keeping on top of regulatory requirements, running the business on smart phones and keeping systems secure. Even the coffee machine is more complicated and needs a specialist.

Those early employees deserve your loyalty and respect and should have the opportunity to learn and develop into larger roles, but they will not all be capable of evolving in line with the needs of your evolving business. Energy and enthusiasm can only get you so far. (Maybe that helps explain what is holding you back from evolving to the next level in your business.)

You do not have to get as big as Uber before the people and processes that got you started are no longer helping you succeed and grow. Check that your organization has evolved as much as the competitive world around you.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson 

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

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