I love it when people reach back in time and bring something forward. Here’s a classic song spruced up with a combination of talent and video editing. (HT: Micro Explosion Media)
While most of the food you eat is domesticated and harvested, there are a lot of fruits and nuts eaten from the wild. However, did you know that eating wild almonds will kill you? Wild almonds contain glycoside amygdalin, and when crushed, it’s deadly. So if you ever approach a wild almond tree, don’t eat the almonds!
Every almond you eat in a salad or dessert is a domesticated variety, carefully cultivated for proper taste (and the avoidance of death). This got me thinking that there other areas in life, when left wild, will lead to our destruction. Relationships, character, and faith all must be cultivated and developed. Otherwise, the wild takes over.
- I must intentionally cultivate my marriage. It takes work, effort and time. Healthy marriages need passion, but they also need planning.
- I must intentionally cultivate my relationship with my children. There will be nights where I don’t feel like reading and moments where I do feel like yelling…that’s the wild nature of parenting.
- I must intentionally cultivate friendships with people, refusing to let my introverted personality become an excuse for a lack of healthy relationships.
When things are left alone, they rarely get better. Like almonds, I must intentionally cultivate health, or else risk letting the wild take over.
Let’s say you run a karate school, and you’re trying to grow your business. You’ve got a brand new space, a handful of promising black-belt students, and a decent operation. In order to take things to the next level, you’ve got to outshine and outsell your competition,.
But your competition isn’t the karate school on the other side of town. And your industry isn’t really karate. Your competition is the gymnastics center, the soccer league, and the summer drama camp. Parents have limited dollars to spend on extra-curricular activities for their kids, and they aren’t debating between karate classes…they are debating on which activity is best for their kids.
As a business owner, don’t waste time educating potential customers why your karate class is better than the other one. Convince them that karate is better than gymnastics and soccer.
As a business leader, you may not think of yourself as a marketer, but YOU ARE. Your job isn’t to teach karate or gymnastics…it’s to get people to sign up and pay for karate or gymnastics class, and in the process…say no to all the other alternatives.
Continuing with some thoughts on leadership, here’s some thoughts on building morale on your team. This is one of the most crucial responsibilities of a leader.
- People need to know that they actually make a difference, not just complete tasks.
- People won’t go along with you if they can’t get along with you.
- It’s pretty hard to build morale on your team if you don’t pay people well. People can’t eat appreciation.
- In addition to giving raises and bonuses, there are creative perks that you can give people.
- One of the biggest morale builders is simply asking people their opinions. People in your organization probably have great ideas for making improvements. We need to ask for those ideas. The people INSIDE the system, are often in the best place to evaluate it.
- The more you value people, the more they will be committed to you.
- Great ideas don’t always come from the top.
- Just because someone doesn’t ask for recognition doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve it.
- Hand-written thank you notes are amazing, and so much better than emails. I’ve gotten thank you notes for sending thank you notes.
- Taking 5 minutes to say thanks doesn’t cost a leader a whole lot of time, but it really can make someone’s day.
- Always take the high road.
- Praise publicly and correct privately. I get this backwards sometimes.
- You MUST give people the freedom to ask questions, the freedom to provide feedback, and the training that they need.
- People matter.
You don’t have work at making things more confusing. Stuff gets harder than it needs to be over time. But you do have to work to keep things simple and clear. Here’s a few tips:
1. Don’t put on two pages what can fit on one page.
2. Don’t create a five step process, when a three-step process will suffice.
3. Intentionally remove as many steps as you can.
4. Don’t have six people in the meeting when all you need is a four.
5. Don’t have a meeting when all you need is a conversation.
6. Don’t CC people on an email if they don’t really need to know.
7. If it can’t be explained on twitter, it’s probably too confusing.
9. If it doesn’t make sense to someone brand new, then it’s too confusing.
10. If it doesn’t make sense to a teenager, then it’s probably too confusing.
11. If you have to click on three different links to get there, it’s too hard to find.