Wednesday, June 30, 2010

People test

"If you do not pass the people test, nothing else matters.
Promotion without connectivity is destructive. I often share with church leaders that most of the churches in the United States should not promote themselves. Why? Simple. If your current membership is not actively inviting people or visitors are not staying, there are reasons why. If you do an advertising campaign, you are asking people to come in your doors only to realize why no one wants to invite anyone to your church. They never come back and leave to tell all their friends what they did not like about your church. This is not good marketing.
The heart of marketing is people. Don’t start with mailers. Start with people. Ask yourself, “What am I doing this week to learn how to reach people more effectively? It's time to evaluate. Are we creating an atmosphere that fosters growth or are we ministering unto ourselves?"
This is an excerpt from a terrific blog I found about church marketing.  I found that this translates very well to business and leadership in general.  Simply substitute "business" for "church".  Now read it again.  It quickly makes you look at your business model.  Are you wasting money inviting people without making a connection?  Do you have something to offer (and continue to offer) when they do accept your invitation?
What are you doing this week to reach more people effectively?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dr. Seuss leadership

“If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got.” Dr. Seuss
Although this quote has been used by many, my favorite is Dr. Seuss.  Another one that I enjoy is "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose."
Dr. Seuss actually wrote some very profound thoughts.  I love how these two quotes go together.
The first speaks to doing the same things and expecting different results.  When you make the same choices, whether jobs, habits or people, your results will tend to be the same (or even worse).  And yet, don't we sometimes hope that something will change?
The second quote speaks to what you can do about it.  You are smart and you have choices.  You don't always have to analyze "why" to make a change.  You only have to realize that you need a different direction.  The analyze part comes in choosing a direction.  Look at where you've been (your history) and choose where you want to be (your goal).  Then connect the dots.  It's not always a straight shot to your destination, but you will change your outcome.  You are in charge.  "You can steer yourself, any direction you choose."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mind your P's & Q's

"Mind your p's & q's."  Have you ever heard the phrase?  This expression, meaning "be very careful to behave correctly", has been in use from the 17th century on. Theories include: an admonishment to children learning to write; an admonishment to typesetters (who had to look at the letters reversed); an admonishment to seamen not to soil their navy pea-jackets with their tarred "queues" (pigtails); "mind your pints and quarts"; "mind your prices and quality"; "mind your pieds and queues" (either feet and pigtails, or two dancing figures that had to be accurately performed).
I recently saw an entry from that reminded me of this phrase.  Jen addressed those who publicly (on Facebook) trash or complain about their companies.  Isn't that just common sense?  You work for (or you're an independent contractor representing) a company, and you trash talk?  Publicly?  In front of potential customers, clients or team members?!
I was always taught that there is "a time and a place".  Maybe you do have frustrations or even legitimate complaints.  Bad mouthing will not only make you look petty, crazy or stupid, but it may even get you fired or harm your personal business.
When you need to address an issue or situation, seek out the individual who has the most influence over the problem.  Clearly define what the problem is and WHY (be specific and use examples).  Offer a solution.  Maybe you just need to vent.  Seek out a support person and let 'er rip!  OK- you have to warn them first that you need to vent, set a time limit, and when you're done, you're done.
As leaders, it is very important to look at the positive side of every situation.  Your influence can raise those around you up, or drag them down.  Your complaints will do nothing but harm if not focused correctly.  Have you been minding your p's & q's?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"I can do anything for a week"

Today I am in the home stretch of a super challenging week.  2 years ago, my siblings & I decided that we wanted to give our parents a really cool trip for their 50th Anniversary.  Knowing that we would need a healthy budget, we opened an account that we all contributed to monthly.  3 months before the big gift presentation, my mother's 88 year old uncle came to live with them.  Their lives changed dramatically as he needs 24 hour care.  When the gift trip was presented, my parents loved the idea, but thought it would be a long time before they were able to go.  This trip for them was important, so I decided that I would come and take care of Uncle Joe and Grandma Blanche.  Since this requires "personal care", it is WAY out of my comfort zone.  But what I wanted (for them to go on their trip) was more important than my comfort.
Lots of things are that way...
When you have a goal, it often requires going outside your comfort zone.  When that goal is important enough, you will meet the challenge.  Maybe your goal is a better business and you're not comfortable making phone calls or meeting strangers.  Maybe your goal is to beat an illness, and you're not comfortable with the recovery plan.  Maybe your goal is to protect a friend or family member, and you're not comfortable with the idea that they may not be happy with you because of your choices.  Maybe your goal is for your parents to celebrate their 50th Anniversary on a week long cruise...
If your goal is clear and important enough, you CAN go outside your comfort zone.  It's not forever, just until you reach your goal.
"I can do anything for a week.  I can do anything for a week.  I can do anything for a week."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Road trip

Picture yourself on a road trip.  Are you the meticulous planner, with detailed maps, all stops planned and hotel or campground reservations made?  Are you more of a free spirit, where you stop when you see something interesting?  Are you someone who drives or flies straight to your destination, with as few stops as possible?  Even though there are many ways to travel, there is still a direction and a destination.  Your personal style may be this way.  You may be a checklist person, where you need to write down all the small steps to your goals.  You may fly by the seat of your pants to get where you're going.  You may be single-minded and driven until you get there.  The thing to keep in mind with leadership, is that you are driving a bus to your destination.  You have responsibilities to your passengers.  Even though you have a preferred mode of travel, it doesn't always work for the rest of your group.  You need to look at their comfort, their safety, their preferences and motivation.  They need to have the same destination as you.  Your passengers get to choose what bus they're on.  Are you on the same bus?