Forward: Constant Forward Motion Keeps us Moving in a Positive Direction

November 4, 2015 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

When we coast for too long, it means we are going downhill. So like a shark, if we quit moving forward, we cease to live effectively. Keeping our sights on the possibilities and discoveries ahead of us while enjoying our present helps keep us moving in the direction of our dreams. When we are hopeful about what lies ahead of us, we look forward to a new day.

When we are in charge of creating our future, we get excited about moving forward to greet our goals. Sometimes we may choose to move sideways as a form of moving forward – as in a lateral move in our workplace. At times the answer is not always moving up, but out that makes the most sense, but it is always moving you forward towards where you want to be.

Popular psychology suggests that we are either moving forward towards pleasure or away from pain – either way, we are making a positive move that instills energy in our actions and gives us the power and the confidence to keep moving forward. Go where your heart leads you, go for it, go take a hike, or go explore a new destination.

If you don’t go, you won’t know. Taking the attitude of taking off towards where your dreams and desires lead you helps build your confidence, build your resilience to stress, and build on your life experiences. Be bold and go to where you think you need to go in order to get what you think you need. Taking brave steps toward your goals gives you energy and courage to pursue your dreams with guts, grace, and gusto.

Interesting people, activities, places, books, ideas, information, and association with other interesting things gets you stepping a little higher. Energy and inspiration by association seem to kick-start your battery. The key to attract interesting people is to create an interesting life, become an interesting person, and seek diversity to get your engine humming. When your mind stops exploring new interests and discovering new ideas, then your soul withers and your brain stops expanding to take in new information.

So what’s new and interesting on your To Do list today? Get interested in becoming interesting and see what kinds of energy sources you tap into. If your life seems like Bill Murray’s in the movie Ground Hog Day, then it’s time to make some changes and include more interesting things to add some spice to your days so they won’t all seem like re-runs that run you down.



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Invite Awe and Inspiration into Your Life – Use Your Vacation Days

February 4, 2015 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

At the dentist recently, I discovered that my dental hygienist hasn’t taken a vacation in 30 years. I nearly fell out of the dentist chair on the spot when I heard the sad news. The first words out of my mouth were not diplomatic, “What the hell is that about?” I was so incredulous, I lost all sense of decorum and social graces in that moment of shock. I really count not relate on any level to that statement of not taking time for yourself in 30 years. I guess I’ve been very, very fortunate to not relate to something out of my realm of understanding. If you’re going to be a good role model for your kids or your work team, or a good leader of any type of group, you need to be inspired. What are you doing to invite awe and inspiration into your life to keep you going and keep you interested and keep you interesting?

I live for exploration, discovery, learning new things, seeing new sights and being awe-inspired every chance I get. I seek out beauty and inspiration, and surround myself with what I love as often as I can in daily life to keep the happy factor pumped up. Taking inspirational vacations is one of my favorite past times. These can be mini weekend get-aways, an overnight in a cool place, an afternoon at a local haunt, a multi-week extravaganza, or a multi-month sabbatical. I just don’t understand people who lose vacation days each year because they never took time off. This is your time, you’ve earned it. You deserve to refresh, recharge and get inspired by adding a little awe into your life.

I recently returned from a holiday Caribbean cruise and though I’ve done many, many cruises; this one held some awesome and inspirational experiences for me. Kayaking has been part of my life for a few decades and I wanted to try something I’d never done. We went kayaking at night in a bioluminescent bay that glows with movement from the organisms similar to fire flies. There are over a million organisms per gallon and they each glow only once per night when they sense motion. So off we paddled through the bay into a canopy of mangrove trees that was so narrow and so dark, you could only see the glow sticks on the kayak in front of you, the glow of the water off your paddle and from the bottom of the kayak and the glow of schools of fish you paddled through or if they jumped. It was a very eery feeling to paddle by feel instead of sight. A new and awe inspiring experience. Only when the guide turned on his head lamp could you see the tree roots hanging down from the branches, the iguanas hanging from the branches and the crabs scurrying across the roots. The tunnel of mangrove branches opened in to a lagoon a few hundred acres in size and we free paddled around and played in the water. It looked like glowing glitter as it slid down your arm. It was such a natural treat, nothing like it. We were giggly, gleeful, amazed, and agog with wonder of this ecological experience.

Coming back to the ship, I experienced a couple other types of awe and inspiration. One was the after-dinner entertainment, which is usually quite cheesy. These guys had won America’s Got Talent national talent show and now had an act in Las Vegas – Recycled Percussion. They gave everybody in the audience drum sticks and things to bang on and they put on such a highly –charged show, there wasn’t a face in the place that didn’t have a smile. They also gave out ear plugs for the faint of heart. By the end of the show everybody was boogying to the rock and roll they remembered. It was awesome. The inspiration continued as we danced our way to the after party show with the BB King Blues Club All-Star Band. The best band I had heard in countless years. They had the ship rockin’. We enjoyed them so much, it was a nightly pilgrimage to wherever they were playing and I carried home a CD so I can recapture the inspirational sounds of the classic, funky blues music.

So it turns out that experiencing awe and inspiration can come in many forms. I just Skyped with a friend in Germany who visited a surprise Monet exhibit never before shown to the world in a mansion outside of Paris. Hearing about it and experiencing it through her was vicariously inspiring. Make your list for the year – what do you want to do to invite awe and inspiration? Add these things to your Hot 100 List – you know the list I’ve been writing about for years. Your annual exercise to write down 100 things you want to have, do or be. Next on my list of awe and inspiration is experiencing the aurora borealis in Iceland and seeing Machu Picchu. What’s next for you?

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What Energizes a Workplace and a Workforce, Anyway? The Softer Side of Leadership

July 29, 2014 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

I began studying what energizes individuals about 30 years ago and it morphed into researching what energizes organizations in the 1990’s. It was fascinating to me how some people had so much energy to burn and others seemed drained much of the time. The same with organizations. Some seemed to have an engaged and excited workforce powered on their own “esteem engines” and others needed the command control to keep them producing out of fear and threat of paycheck revocation.

When I read about the enormous undertaking of one of Gallup’s largest and longest undertakings studying employee engagement; it proved what I had been seeing first-hand in consulting with companies around the world. A mere 30 % of employees in America feel actively engaged at work. And now their 21013 version of the study found that around the world it falls to just 13%. Their study goes on to report that 55% are disengaged and 20% are actively disengaged and doing things to sabotage the effort. So instead of work being an enthusiastic expression of our gifts and talents; it would seem that it is anything but for most employees.

Last fall, interested in what makes employees satisfied, energized and productive; the Harvard Business Review conducted a survey of more than 12,000 mostly white-collar employees across a broad range of companies and industries and results were remarkably similar across all populations.

Employees are vastly more satisfied and productive, when 4of their core needs are met:

  1. Physical, through opportunities to regularly renew and recharge at work
  2. Emotional, by feeling valued and appreciated for their contributions
  3. Mental, when they have the opportunity to focus in an absorbed way on their most important tasks and define when and where they get their work done
  4. Spiritual, by doing more of what they do best and enjoy most, and by feeling connected to a higher purpose at work

The more effectively leaders and organizations support employees in meeting these 4 core needs, the more likely they experience engagement, loyalty, job satisfaction and positive energy at work, and the lower their perceived levels of stress. When employees have one need met, compared with none, all of their performance variables improve. The more needs that are met, the more positive the impact.

Employee engagement that includes involvement, commitment, passion, enthusiasm, focused effort and energy has been found to improve performance. Something we know in our gut and something Gallup once again proved to be true. Gallup found that companies in the top quartile for engaged employees, compared with the bottom quartile, had 22 % higher profitability and 10% higher customer ratings. The way we feel at work is critical to how we perform.

The following is an excerpt from a report of that study:

Renewal: Employees who take a break every 90 minutes report a 30 percent higher level of focus than those who take 0-1 during the day. They also report a nearly 50 percent greater capacity to think creatively and a 46% higher level of health and well-being. The more hours people work beyond 40 — and the more continuously they work — the worse they feel, and the less engaged they become. By contrast, feeling encouraged by one’s supervisor to take breaks increases by nearly 100 % people’s likelihood to stay with any given company, and also doubles their sense of health and well-being.

Value: Feeling cared for by one’s supervisor has a more significant impact on people’s sense of trust and safety than any other behavior by a leader. Employees who say they have more supportive supervisors are 1.3 times as likely to stay with the organization and are 67% more engaged.

Focus: Only 20% of respondents said they were able to focus on one task at a time at work, but those who could were 50% more engaged. Similarly, only one-third of respondents said they were able to effectively prioritize their tasks, but those who did were 1.6 times better able to focus on one thing at a time.

Purpose: Employees who derive meaning and significance from their work were more than three times as likely to stay with their organizations — the highest single impact of any variable in our survey. These employees also reported 1.7 times higher job satisfaction and they were 1.4 times more engaged at work.

Leaders must embrace the softer side of business and know that how employees feel is as important as what they know and what they can do. If they don’t feel like doing it, they won’t. If they don’t feel valued, they walk. If they don’t feel respected, they leave or call in sick. If they don’t feel inspired and energized and feel like they matter; they won’t produce. Leaders much pay attention to what was previously thought of as soft skills and ensure they ask employees what would make them feel more energized, more cared for and what would improve their quality of life at work.

Other things I’ve seen client companies do is to create fitness facilities and nap rooms, and to provide healthy, high-quality food for free, or at subsidized prices, offer dry cleaning pick-up or car detailing in the workplace. Others offer Fed-ex and UPS delivery and drop off for employees and promise not to make meetings more than 90 minutes tops. Still others have bowls of M&M’s next to the coffee pots in the break rooms. What can you do as a leader to embrace the softer side of the workplace and energize your employees? It starts with a simple question of asking them what they want out of the relationship with their job and what do they need to feel better about working there. Baked goods is always a good start.

The energy of leaders is contagious. When leaders explicitly encourage employees to work in more sustainable ways and model that behavior; their employees are substantially more engaged, more focused, and more likely to stay at the company, according to the Harvard Business Review. Start inquiring now before you lose more employees to someplace that cares more about them, shows them they are concerned with how they feel and shows how they value them on many levels.

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On the Art of Living & Leading Hartfully

August 25, 2013 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

I’ve been a student of the art of living simply and beautifully  for a couple decades now. Ever since finding Alexandra Stoddard’s first books on the subject of leading a beautiful life and incorporating it into every single delicious aspect of my life. Why not surround yourself with beautiful things that have meaning and bring your joy? Why not surround yourself with beautiful thoughts, intentions, music, art, love, abundance and design? The philosophy oozes its way into they types of soap, lotions, potions and vessels that find their way into your home, the clothes that find their way into your closet, the work that finds its way into your life, and the friends that find their way into your heart.

I’ve been ruminating about the transition of of message that the world needs to hear and transitioning my work to mesh with what I’ve learned over the years, who I”ve becoming and am still becoming and what entrepeneurs and employers need to know as well as those that are in charge of their lives if not an entire company. The transition has moved from changing my own personal name with much thought and consideration of a grand representation of my life’s purpose but to my company name and what it/I stand for. Afterall, they are one in the same. My work is the outward expression of my essense and purpose: to be a successful artist and messenger in the community spotlight. So bringing the message of living and leading Hartfully has been years in the making.

Recently I hosted a “Gaia’s Girls Weekend” which truly expressed the art of living and leading Hartfully. Gathering some of my favorite women on Earth from “the Southern Contingent”; we enjoyed food, frolic, frivolity, friendship and a stretch limousine to take us to a grand estate for a peek into the truly elengant ways of Living Artfully. Indeed, our lives are works of art that we paint with every choice we make. This particular weekend was delightfully rendered with little scheduling to allow the energy to flow and to just BE with each other and connect peppered with some highlights of living lusciously and treating outselves beautifully. Why not treat ourselves to luxe indulgences to feel special now and again or at least more often than we have in the past. Why not experience the feelings of lushness and grace. What is holding you back from getting a limo now and again to whisk you and your friends off to an amazing day or evening celebration and joy? It doesn’t need to be for anything in particular. Give the gift of a great experience and see how it makes everybody feel…pretty darn good.

What a treat and a blessing to be able to bring my gal pals together and practive the Art of Living and Leading Hartfully. If we can’t live Hartfully, how are we expected to lead Hartfully? If we are not in touch with our purpose and message and the big why’s of ourselves and our hearts; how can we expect to show up and lead in any decent way? I’ve consulted with many leaders who have not found that balance of leading and living fully in their hearts and it’s not a pretty sight. What can you do for yourself to living and lead more Hartfully? More fully in your heart?

What small changes can you make to your home and office to be living more beautifully in what fully represents you? Might I suggest clearing out anything that doesn’t make sense any more. This could be items, thoughts, people, busy work, tasks, clothing, shoes, knick knacks and habits. What can you infuse into your life to help you live more Hartfully? What new habits, new friends, new work projects, new things in your surroundings could help you live more beautifully?

What can you do in the service of others to help you live more Hartfully? What can you do in the service of yourself to express your life more Hartfully? What can you do to bring in more beauty? It was such a treat to treat my freinds to a glorious day of living Hartfully – a cherished memory for all of us. Looking forward to practicing more Hartful habits.

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Your Time is Your Life: Learners are Leaders

May 16, 2013 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

If we are wasting time, we are wasting our lives. We trade out our energy for time and our life is made up of time. So when we waste our energy, we waste our time, and we waste our lives. What are you doing with your time? What are you doing with your life?

What I’ve found in my years of consulting, working with leaders of organizations, entrepreneurs, solo-preneurs and from self-study is that leaders are learners and those that learn more, earn more. What I believe to be true from my experience is that when you’re done learning. . . . you’re done. I view life-long learning as something to look forward to in the quest for continuous improvement.

Some studies suggest the average American watches 6 hours of TV per day, making the average 60 year old an avid TV viewer of 15 years of his life, a quarter of a lifetime vegging on the couch! So what if we all eliminated 1 hour of TV per day = 365 hours per year, which equals 2 months of additional time. That equates to 9 average 40-hour work-weeks to do what is more important in your life than click away in front of a screen.  And many of us wish we had more time to do the things we like to do. May I suggest re-organizing your time?

My experience has also shown that leaders are readers. If we read just 1 substantive book per week, that’s 520 books in 10 years and if those books are in an area of interest where you make your livelihood, that would make you an expert in your field, and experts are in demand. If you’re reading the gossip publications all week. . . that’s another story altogether.

What about the time spent in your car commuting? The average American commutes 30 minutes each way from work which equals 1250 hours in your car in 5 years. That’s enough time spent in your car for a college education. Are you listening to schlock or are you learning a language or something useful to society or your family or yourself? How are you choosing to spend your time and spend your life?

What about delegating the tasks that can be done better by somebody else, somebody you will gladly pay to take the work off your hands. I have chosen in the past to do some home improvements on my own. It somehow always looks better in my mind than in real life; hence the electricians and carpenters parading through my home at the moment. I know my limits and I know what don’t want to do and what I need to be doing. . . . what I do best . . . which is not installing crown molding, or cleaning windows, or doing my taxes. I pay others to have those little pieces of my life back and save a few gray hairs in the process.

What are you trading your life for? What could you outsource that fits somebody else’s genius to save you the stress? How could you better use your time? What are you reading/watching/listening to? Are you moving yourself forward with your choices or are you treading water in your comfort zone and checking out? Learning new things gives us energy, passion, zest and zeal. Teaching does the same. Once you’ve learned something new, why not pass it along to others?

Here’s your challenge: don’t just delegate, eliminate. Create a stop-doing list along with your to-do list. Name your list a “policy” because most of us follow policies and we respond to policies vs. mere suggestions because a policy is a boundary. What is on your stop-doing list?

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A Little Means a Lot: Small Holiday & ThanksGIVING Ideas with BIG Impact

November 23, 2011 | Posted in Living Hartfully | By

I’m a card-carrying member of the “non-commercialized holiday traditions” club. For most of my adult years I’ve not been a believer in the usual nostalgic American tradition of shop ’till you drop, unfettered consumerism type of holiday madness. I call it practicing safe stress over the holidays and quite frankly, every day. That’s why I loved living in Europe for 10 years with all those wonderful outdoor markets and much less commercialism at that time.  Of course as a kid, I reveled in my parent’s consumerism as I opened present after present for Christmas. As the wise poet, Maya Angelou says, “When we know better, we do better”.  Now it’s just embarassing to imagine how much value I put on that stuff as a kid. Ah yes, adulthood does have its advantages.

If you’re a fan of Oprah, you may have seen the following info in her magazine and if you didn’t catch it; I’m bringing it to you right here. Yes, I’m copying the info from her magazine word for word on page190 written by Lauren Murrow and Rachel Mount. I commend them on their research into what a few bills can do in somebody’s life.  So, in honor of all Americans who may not have as much to give this season as well as those of you, like me, who take a vow to avoid all malls and shopping venues from mid-November until mid-January; I give you 17 ways under $20 to give this ThanksGIVING, your particular holiday or any day you feel like it. Starting at a buck, you can make a contribution to make changes in the world without adding to the pile of stuff for somebody.

  1. $1 for 2 books shipped to a classroom in Africa. In many African school rooms, 20 students share 1 textbook:
  2. $2 for a set of drumsticks for a low-income public school student learning to play the drums:
  3. $3 for a field trip to a museum, concert or theatre production for a high-risk youth:
  4. $4 for 2 hours of prepaid phone time for a soldier stationed overseas – calling cards for our troops:
  5. $5 for a one-burner kerosene stove for a family that would typically rely on an open fire:
  6. $6 for measles vaccinations for 15 children in a developing country:
  7. $7 for a week’s worth of food for an abandoned dog or cat at a shelter run by the American Soiciety for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:
  8. $8 for a medical teaching doll to be used in educating a child about his or her cancer treatment:
  9. $10 for a box of nails uded to adapt a disabled veteran’s house from Homes for Our Troops:
  10. $10 for a day’s worth of fresh fruites and veggies for feed 2 chimps, most of which have been orphaned by poachers at the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehab Center in the Republic of Congo:
  11. $10 for 2 specialized bottles for babies born with a cleft palate, who otherwise might suffer from malnutrition before receiving corrective surgery:
  12. $10 for cloth and tools so an Afghan woman can become self-sufficient by taking a 6-month tailoring course through Creating Hope International and the Afghan institute for Learning:
  13. $11 for 11 trees to be planted in Alabama communities devastated by the April tornadoes:
  14. $12 for 20 pounds of multipurpose soap to help keep families germ-free around the world through Oxfam:
  15. $14 for 2 nutitious meals delivered by volunteers from Meals on Wheels to a housebound senior citizen:
  16. $15 for a backpack and school supplies for one homeless or low-income urban child:
  17. This item was not in the Oprah mag, but I wanted to offer it to you and your friends as a way to connect with loved ones over the holidays and every day. For $9.80 you can send 10 custom greeting cards or postcards to anywhere in the world with your own photos and personal message at and select the Pay-as-You-Go option to send some cards. You can send a couple more on me – my treat as an added bonus. The video will walk you through sending a card and the company prints it, stuffs the envelope, stamps it and mails it for you. If you have questions – send me an email

On a final note – for a little more money, you can donate to your local food bank or give some small business owners some work by giving the gift of their services to loved ones such as: house cleaning services, yard services, home improvement services, a massage, a mani/pedi or spa treatments, a home chef,  or any number of personal services that include experiences rather than stuff to help support the small business community.

I hope this list is helpful. Big thanks once again to Oprah and her team for brining us enlightened ideas.  (BTW – have you seen her Life Class show – awesome!)  If you have more ideas of making a BIG impact on a small budget, let me know and I’ll share ideas. Cheers!

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The Happiness Factor at Work

October 17, 2011 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

There’s a lot of talk these days about happiness. Are you happy, are your kids or partner happy? Do you work in a happy environment, even the folks who are employed at the happiest place on Earth are not immune to the question of “Am I happy here?” And “here” can mean here in your life, here in your job, here in your business, here in your marriage, here in a geographic location or here in any specific situation.

Lots and lots of studies, books and blogs about happiness have cropped up over the years. It’s a sign that we’ve moved up the food chain on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Once a need is met, it’s no longer a need and we go out seeking something else. Our motivations come from needs, so once a need is met, we no longer have tha motivation. So I’m guessing that most of us have our food, clothing and shelter taken care of and now we’re in search of the self actualization and happiness penthouse level.

One of the aspects of happiness is to find something you love to do, make it your life’s work and focus your energy and attention towards it. It gives you meaning, gives you joy and gives you something you do well to serve the world and create a better place. Having that type of purposeful project fans the flames of your inner potential. When our work is a natural express of who we are and what we do well, that intersection of our talents and the world’s needs is ripe for success. Ultimately, our work on Earth is to shine our light joyfully and give our greatest strengths to the world and if we combine that with our vocation, it’s brilliantly blissful. Need help figuring out your gifts, talents and purpose? We can point you in the right direction at

Happiness is a decision of the mind. Deciding you are going to take action to make changes towards what makes you happy is the first step. Of course EVERYTHING starts with the mindset, deciding, then doing. Our thoughts, ideas and desires are what drives us forward and helps our soul to evolve and happiness is a pleasant side affect. So many of us seem to be in the busy-ness of being too busy to do X, Y or Z. I’d say being too busy to slow down and figure out what makes you happy is like being too busy driving to stap for gas. Slowing down to figure out what feeds your soul in how your serve and how you move through the world is refilling your tank. Once you know what feeds you, then you can put it on your t0-do list and fit it into your busy schedule.

Research shows that life’s most gratifying experiences and happy moments  come from really living and being present at what you’re doing, who you’re being and where you are and NOT in all the trappings of the usual suspects of success. Studies show that the little things add up to a happier life such as walking to the store from home instead of driving, great neighbors, friendship, sharing conversation, socializing, notice daily joys, music, smells, dogs/cats, tending your garden, fresh flowers, home-baked treats, spending time with family disconnected from technology.

So many of us are experiencing a life deficit disorder in our rush to the bus/metro/carpool, the rush through lunch, the rush home and rushing to get everything done. Your challenge this week is to slow down, make time to make your list of your happiness factors that affect you personally. What’s on your list? Once you make your happiness factor list, do a gap analysis to discover where you can close the gaps and just how far out of whack you may be, or celebrate how on track you are and rejoice in your alignment with life/work/happiness. Make it a priority to create happiness at home, in your workplace, in your life. Once you have your list, challenge yourself to put more of those things from your list into your daily life and into the workplace.

Here are some ideas to get you started for  a happy workplace:

  1. SAS corporation supplies M&M’s and coffee in the break areas, they have on-site childcare so employees can visit their kids at lunch, dry cleaner drop-off service, on-site doctors, lovely landscaped grounds.
  2. Northwestern Mutual offers boxed dinners from the cafeteria so dinner is easy to fix after a long day, music groups/bands so employees can enjoy their hobby with others and give concerts to colleagues.
  3. Car detailing or seated massages while at work, bosses serve breakfast to workers, Office Olympics or friendly competition – chili cookoff or bake-off.
  4. Colors affect our mood – paint the walls what makes you happy, fresh flowers, music, flextime, ability to express how you work through your work, listening, respect, caring for others.
  5. Disney entertains you while you wait in looooong lines, Vail and Copper Mountain ski resorts through out candy to skiers in lift lines and ask trivia questions to make the time in lines go faster.
  6. My dentist recently replaced their waiting room furnishings with very comfy, luxurious yet whimsical furnishings, a new plasma TV, fireplace and fountain and a fresh supply of current magazines.

What is your workplace doing or what can you contribute to your business/workplace to up the ante for happiness for yourself, your colleagues and your customers? It will go a long way in improving the happiness factor in your life since you spend about a third of your life at work.


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Is Your Organization Open to Innovation?

May 11, 2011 | Posted in Leading Hartfully | By

I’m taking a new look at my workplace and living space these days. I’m moving my business and my life to a different place. I’ve noticed how I want to lighten my load, throw off the dead weight, innovate ways to do more with less.

I’ve gone through this drill with each move and notice that I’m drilling down more and more to ge to the heart of what works for me in my business and my home life. Taking a fresh perspective on the things that you have usually done or used to serve you helps bring out new innovative ways to doing things and using things. I though I’d been ruthless the last few moves with removing items that no longer served me or the business well. I find it needs to be done in layers.

What if you did the same to your organization and pretended you were moving offices, moving to a different level of service, moving closer to your customer’s needs. What would you jettison? What would you keep? Who would stay or go? What do you really need in your office or what is serving it’s purpose, but not very well?

Have you looked at your processes with a keen eye, or from the eyes of your customers or your colleagues to see where you can streamline? Take a cue from Domino’s Pizza and their new menu items. They have a survey printed on the box asking how you like it.  Have you interviewed your clients to ask “how we doin’?”  Have you interviewed your team members to ask the same when you’re in a performance review session.

How about a brainstorming session with other departments to ask where the bottlenecks are and how to creatively improve them? It starts with letting go of your old perspective on how things should be done or how they should look or be. Be open about the outcomes, re-purpose some things or ways of thinking. Embrace some changes or create some yourself to shake things up. It could start with cleaning out the junk drawer or just looking at what’s working or not working so well and being open to propose a better plan.

Sometimes you have to introduce the innovation or the change in increments and layers. If we’re forced to change too much in too short of time, we experience future shock and we dig in our heals. Making incremental changes and letting it settle in, then tweaking some more, ditching a little here and tossing a little there doesn’t meet with so much resistance. Ask around and see what your team can tweak or hold a contest to see who can come up with the most innovative solution to a recent challenge.

Some find it hard to accept new ways of working because they may think they’ve failed in some way. Being open to innovation means not holding on so tight to what you thought was the best way of doing things yesterday. Things change, you did the best you could with what you knew and what you had at that point in time. Let go of some old ways and things to make room for new ways and things. An open mind is a good mind. Create space for new things to come in.

Now excuse me while I  clear away the old printer to make room for the new, innovative wireless one (double the output, double-sided printing, eprinting and half the cost of ink)…

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