Being Effective in Achieving Your Goals

The challenges of operating in a changing world

The ‘old school’ as some would say with regards to being in business, has a lot to do with hierarchy. Domination of a sector ensures success and how much money you have enables that to happen even faster. Business owners sell most of their business to investors in order to bring life to their dreams, politicians kowtow to backers losing their morals and their concern for citizens in the process, and people sell their future earnings to companies for the privilege of taking care of their basic needs from day-to-day. As I was watching Les Miserables last night I thought of how people in the future would look to our current situation in disbelief and grief in the same way I viewed Jean Valjean. How could that possibly be ok that someone went to prison for stealing the bread to eat? Can easily turn into today’s predicament → How could someone not have a place to live when there are empty houses? Or → How could the government let that happen? Continue reading “Being Effective in Achieving Your Goals”

Fixing Poor Policy

Reversing poor policy decisions is not only possible it is necessary for the health of your business. While it is often easier to start from scratch, sometimes things need to be changed mid-stream. And you should consider it.

As a business owner take a minute to think about the established system of your business.  What are the indicators that you are getting from your employees?   What are the possible reactions of the system to your policy? How will it positively and negatively affect the environment and the culture?  Is the failure or mistake a symptom of something that is under your control?  Regular communication with employees about topics both inside AND outside the company can help.

As an example : If you have open and regular communication you know that Suzie’s overeating might be because of a recent breakup, but what if you don’t?  A potential cause for a change in is that your employees aren’t getting enough exercise.  There are also all sorts of dietary possibilities.  I’ll tell you this, if I had an employee that was gaining weight I’d be concerned that they might not be getting enough breaks as well since sometimes going to food is an experience of needing to step away from what they are doing.

This has many other potential applications, but what it comes down to is that our businesses are small communities.  The more conversation that happens and the more pieces of the puzzle that you have the better when it comes to making decisions to everyone’s benefit.

Women & Spirit in Business

Triskele Circle

During my studies at Goddard College they encouraged us to spend time looking at who we were.  During that time I felt that I became more deeply connected with my spiritual side, beginning to live it as my life more and more every day.

Years later I find myself continually drawn to increasing my connection with my own spirituality and  making sure that this has a front and center place with the work that I am doing.  It is important to me that my work increases my connection with my spirituality and that my spirituality brings to my work benefits as well.

It was as this connection deepened that the conversation around forming Women & Spirit in Business began with Karen Ribeiro, Shalini Bahl, and Val Nelson while sitting around a table at Essalon Cafe in Hadley.  Continue reading “Women & Spirit in Business”

Meditation & Business

One of the ways I’ve brought my spirituality to work is through meditation.  Not only a technique for connecting with the self at a fundamental level, this calming, grounding activity is also a helpful way to start meetings, get centered before brainstorming a new project, and just about anything you’d like to do well.

There are many spiritual paths that teach a form of meditation.  Choose one and see how it works for you. The most important aspect is giving the brain the time to reset so that your thoughts can be more clear.

When to use meditation in a business setting: Continue reading “Meditation & Business”

Hitting the Reset Button

Having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day like Alexander?  The first thing you need to do is recognize that the plan aren’t isn’t going the way you’d hoped.  Maybe the meeting stalled, maybe collaborators started being more gruff than helpful.  Next thing, Stop everything.  Take a minute to yourself to think about whether or not you want to see the project or work progress.

Don’t get down though, it is possible to turn a bad day into a good one.  To make a meeting where fighting is happening into one in which a lot gets accomplished.  Press the reset button so to speak.  So, if you are banging your head against the wall and nothing is changing, take a minute to determine if you can get past the hump.  Don’t forget that is also alright too to put something aside, since sometimes the best move is to walk away, but first try one of these… Continue reading “Hitting the Reset Button”

Dealing with the Tough Stuff

Dealing with the Tough Stuff, the latest in the SVN book series by Margot Fraser and Lisa Lorimer, was the topic of Friday afternoon’s plenary where the authors talked about their own struggles in their businesses and helped lead “feedback circles” for participants to get support with their own challenges.Dealing with the Tough Stuff

Lisa Lorimer, former President and owner of Vermont Bread Company in Brattleboro, Vt., spoke with passion about what it’s like to be in challenging situations as a business owner. Her great empathy comes from her own vast experience. She knows what it’s like to have to decide what to do when payroll is due and there is no money in the account. Lisa stressed that business owners need to have a place where they are able to talk about the realities of the business, something which was practiced later in the session in an exercise.

Although Birkenstocks are now a ubiquitous sight on college campuses all over the country, Margot Fraser, founder of Birkenstock USA, did not find the U.S. to initially be a receptive market for the cork-souled sandals. Her first distribution deal with the manufacturer was based on a “handshake” and her narrow focus on selling only one product made others call her crazy, but Margot admits she would have liked some seasoned advice when she was first starting out. Both Margot and Lisa agreed that creating a competent and skilled advisory board can be a lifesaver for a struggling entrepreneur.

The session wrapped up with a half an hour exercise with the participants shared their own challenges and offered advice to each other in small groups. This exercise not only got me much needed assistance, but it also demonstrated just how helpful it is to have a sounding board for not only idea but also troubles. I look forward to reading the book, which was included in each participant’s bag, and gaining even more insight of these two women.