June/July 2018 – Letters from Lisa

Courage to Grow

The theme of our recent Dealer Retreat was the Wizard of Oz – Courage to Grow. I know what you are thinking, how can a 1939 movie classic be the business tale of 2018? The answer is found in the five points that are the key take-aways, if you choose to follow the yellow brick road all the way to the Emerald City.

Embrace and value the journey

In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her friends embark on an incredible journey. As a business owner, you are also on an incredible journey. The challenges and victories on the journey are a part of your story, tell it every chance you get. The reason for this is that stories stick with people and have an impact on how they perceive the brand, your culture and whether they want to be a part of your journey.

Realize that things aren’t always what they seem

Dorothy and her friends are stunned when they discover that the Wizard was far from the powerful figure that they had expected him to be. Likewise, the stumbling blocks that your business faces may not be what you think they are. Solutions to business challenges seldom lie in looking at them through the same lens as you have always done. Innovation, creativity, and fundamental changes (yes you might need to change) may be necessary for your business to grow. Those things that seem to be great challenges may not be what they seem when approached in a new way with a fresh perspective.

Don’t be cowardly

Success in business comes from being courageous not cowardly like the lion. One must be courageous enough to search for new opportunities, even if it means a big departure from how you have done business in the past. In business, we are unfortunately, occasionally, subjected to naysayers – people who don’t get us, try to bring our spirit down, and bring us back to “reality.” It isn’t easy to find the courage to overcome all of this, but the alternative is to manage from fear. Fear destroys one’s opportunity for growth. Courage is one of the most important assets to have in a business.

Have a heart

The Tin Man lacked a heart, which is another way of saying that he lacked the energy, emotion and inspiration to lead his life in the way that he wanted. Business is all about energy and it flows down. As a leader, you must find a way to build a culture that engages people with energetic enthusiasm. Employees who feel heard, valued and respected work with much more enthusiasm and energy than those who don’t. They are also more likely to stick around because they love where they work.

Embrace the fact that brainpower matters

Take it from the Scarecrow – it takes work to become smarter. Developing the brains to drive change in your business means committing to continually upgrading your own skills. As a business leader, developing new perspectives, awareness, and resources through coaching, training, and leadership development can help.

So, think yellow brick road, then embrace the journey. Along the path, do not be afraid to challenge yourself to look at your business in new ways. Innovative growth and positive change only come to those who have the skills, energy, and courage to improve themselves and do things differently. As business owners we are constantly going through peaks and valleys – having our good days and bad ones. And with every one of these, there’s a new witch along the road. Decide if you will let the witch be wicked or be Glinda the witch of opportunity.

August 2017 – Letters from Lisa

For many years of my career, I was a business consultant. Now, before you turn the page thinking consultants just don’t get it, give me a few more minutes. In that role, the first question I always asked each business was “what is your goal?” Almost always the answer was to make more money or worse yet many answered, “I don’t really know.” The latter is almost impossible to help, but there are lots of ways to make more money. All of these start with having a clear picture of the opportunity that exists and knowing the best way to take advantage of that opportunity and marry the culture and vision in which you have built your business. Anytime you bring more people into the fold (sub-dealers, employees, partners, etc.) it is imperative that they are clear on the culture, vision, opportunity and approach if making more money (the goal) is to become a reality.

Being clear is not always easy because things are always changing. It is further complicated by the fact that clearly communicating that vision takes lots of time, time none of us seem to have. And finally, change and communication are the two things most people don’t do well.

Certainly, the desire to make more money is simple. So, why is doing it so complex and where does one even begin? Whenever complex things need to be made simple, I always go back to my childhood. My mom was amazing at making things simple, so they would be less stressful for me. One of her techniques was to use tricky little sayings (the fancy word for this is mnemonics) to help me remember facts I needed to get good grades (a large stress for me). One of my favorites was “I before E except after C or when sounding like A in neighbor and weigh.”

I still tend to look for mnemonics to help me keep our amazing team (having an amazing team is imperative to all of this) surrounded with clarity. So here it is: culture eats vision and then invites the 5 D’s over for a snack.

Culture is what gets you to your goal; vision determines the goal. If you articulate a great vision to an organization without the appropriate culture, you’ll never achieve the vision. If your organization has a wonderful culture, but no vision, then you might really enjoy your time together, but you’ll never go anywhere. I believe that the issue is not vision vs. culture, but how to achieve vision + culture. Once you have the sum of the two, you can focus on inviting the 5 D’s to the party. When they arrive they will each represent something unique but connected:

Determine One must HAVE A CLEAR PICTURE of the opportunities available to impact the goal.

Define One must DEFINE & TRACK the GOAL to help guide going after the opportunity.

Decide Hitting a goal is not a fluke, it is intentional. DECIDE how you will hit the goal and implement the plan!

Drive Nothing happens without a driver. DRIVE!

Deflect Lots of folks and things will try to derail the mnemonic. Wear a SUIT OF ARMOUR and deflect them all.

All of this is a lot of work, so don’t forget to celebrate ANY accomplishments along the way. I would love for you to share those with me. I promise that I totally understand that no matter how small you think your accomplishments are, they are major. Major accomplishments deserve a backflip, and that is exactly what I will attempt in the midst of my excitement for you!