With winter fast approaching, I’ve heard from many business owners that they’re planning to attend trade shows and conferences. So I thought I’d tell you a story.
I’ll never forget our first trade show. We were so excited about connecting with some great prospects. After the show, we got back to the office, and someone asked, “Who’s got the bag with the business cards?” (Mind you, this was back in the pre-digital age.) After a heart-wrenching search, we realized that the hard-won cards had been completely misplaced, probably still attending the trade show under a forgotten table.
I took my family on a trip to an amusement park a few weeks ago, and like most parents, I had a vivid picture in my mind of how the day would go. I saw the smiles and laughter on my kids’ faces. I heard their happy squeals as they went on the rides. I felt the good vibes from the amusement park staff as they helped my kids onto the rides.
So you could imagine the disappointment I felt when, as we waited in line for the park’s most thrilling rollercoaster, I noticed that the attendant, a young man in his late teens, was helping kids get on and off with a look of total and utter boredom and indifference—even a little resentment. For someone whose job it is to give kids a good time, he showed zero signs of enthusiasm.
A business owner once told me she had to let go of an employee for creating a toxic work environment. This employee had been sharing personal complaints about the owner with coworkers, rather than bringing them up directly with her. It soon became popular to talk behind the owner’s back, and before long, the circulating negativity caused a rift between her and the team. Obviously, morale and productivity suffered greatly.
Was this employee a liability? Definitely. But there’s also more to the picture. It’s possible that this business owner created an environment that discouraged people from speaking their mind productively.
Do you believe admitting you’re wrong is a sign of weakness or a sign of strength?
Do you think apologizing hurts your credibility or enhances it?
How hard is it for you to apologize to someone you may have hurt?
Has this happened to you?
You’re walking down the street with your morning coffee, feeling great. Your family, your work, your health—all great. You’re happy, optimistic, and ready to take on the day.
Do you ever sit for hours (or days or months) tweaking something—a product, an email, an article, a presentation—but no matter how many times you think it’s final, there’s always “just one more thing” to change? It’s a familiar struggle for so many of us, but it’s costing much more than our sanity.
A few months ago, I was experiencing a challenge in my business; I had been going back and forth on different possible solutions, but when all was said and done, I felt stuck.
A few weeks into this challenge, I got a call from a friend and fellow business owner. He asked me for my advice on an issue he was having in his own company and wanted my opinion on what the best path forward would be. The answer seemed pretty clear to me, and I guided him the best I could. After about 25 minutes of talking, we hung up the phone.
Two lumberjacks were competing in the finals of the annual lumberjack competition. One was older and more experienced, the other a younger and stronger lumberjack. The rules were simple: Whoever can fell the most trees in a day, wins.
The younger lumberjack, full of enthusiasm, immediately got to work. He could hear the other lumberjack in the distance. At regular intervals, the sounds of trees being felled would stop. The younger lumberjack grew even more confident, because he knew that meant the older lumberjack was taking a rest, while he had the stamina to keep going.