Category Archives: Making better decisions

Finding a mentor

If you work with someone or for someone, mentoring might be offered to you without your asking. For solo-preneurs or rising stars in an organization, you might have to go seek it. Here are some thoughts from the old hand about how should you go about asking. >

Mentor, don’t instruct

How often does someone try to delegate up to you? Hey boss, how do I get on the shared drive? Hey boss, what should I say to this difficult customer? Hey boss, should we get a different supplier? >

Take it off line…

For the second meeting in a row, Vistage Member and IT Guru Alan Sugano walked into the room and called for a def-com alert. And, like that old E.F. Hutton commercial, when Alan talks, we all listen. Like an earthquake or a mudslide or a serious fire, this may never happen…but if it does there is an 85% likelihood that your business will not survive even 90 days. Did I get your attention? >

Take time to notice

On autopilot, are we?

We stumble out of bed in a sleepy fog at 0-dark-30 and get through our morning routine by habit (habit is good). Then somewhere after or during the morning shower or maybe not until we turn on the car after our morning caffeine, we begin to wake up. Do we take time to notice? >

What we dismiss

It is the role of the business leader to make decisions. Sometimes, no, quite often, we have to decide with less information than we would want if we had more time. So, we have to take risks and make choices. Lately. I’ve been thinking about what we dismiss in that process.

Urgency drives us barreling down the tunnel of decision like a car going around a blind curve at night. We focus on making the curve safely and ignore what seems extraneous and may kill us if we take our eyes off the goal to evaluate new data. On the other hand, out for a nice drive in the country as spring begins, we might cruise along that same road with our eyes more on the roadside distractions than the road itself.  What is different? What do we dismiss when we feel great urgency that we appreciate when we have time to consider?

That leads me to consider how we are allocating our time.  Why aren’t we building in more time to cruise along – to open our eyes to new insights and opportunities that don’t come into focus when we are desperately trying to hit the goal? Maybe, there is a bigger goal.  Maybe once in a while we need to slow down to go fast. Maybe, I’m just due for a Sunday drive to see the golden poppies.  Want to go?

Interested in Vistage?

Keep Moving

Do you ever have a bad day you can’t shake? Traffic makes you late, you didn’t sleep well, you were unnecessarily nasty to a colleague, too many meetings cancelled at the last minute. You get to the end of the day and you want to start it over. Get over it. Keep moving. Easy to say, not easy to do.

It has been raining for days here in SoCal. Finally a break in the clouds, so we got a chance to go for a long walk along the river.  It’s brown. The homeless have clothes drying on the guard rail. Where are the ducks, the geese, the great blue heron? There are countless plastic bags and other trash caught in the grasses and trees – some as high as 25 feet up where the water crested from the torrential rains. We keep thinking we see a blue heron and it is a shredded shirt caught in the weeds.

2 ½ miles down-river, farther than we usually go on our river walks, we arrive at a café at the river’s edge. We’d heard there was one somewhere in this direction next to a bicycle shop and lo and behold we arrive. Paul finds that his favorite coffee roaster sells his fresh roast blends here and is a happy man. I find this little saying in the ladies room.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you MUST keep moving”. – Albert Einstein.

It occurred to me that I was staying stuck. I was stewing about the past. I needed to take action to get back in balance. I focused on the snow on the mountains and how clear and fresh the air was. One beautiful white egret and 2 blue herons later, we arrived back to the car and happily ticked off 10,000 steps.

Is there something in your life that is stuck? Is there a conversation you need to have? What action can you take to get back in balance?

Planned or unplanned?

We got up to Mammoth before the big dump on Friday night and woke up early to a foot of snow and more dropping. I couldn’t wait to get out the door! Season pass holders who got there at 7:30 got “early ups” an hour before everyone else would be allowed on the mountain. I had reserved my space 2 weeks ahead and didn’t eat breakfast since early ups included a really nice spread at the mid-mountain chalet.  Unfortunately, when we got to the lodge the whole mountain was on weather hold. Planned or unplanned, I ate and waited until it was safe to go on the mountain.

The snow was heavy and deep and visibility came and went. By lunch we were done and headed to a mountain shop were my friend Robert had rented demo skis. It was time for a new pair. He had rented skis in Tahoe and now in Mammoth and had narrowed it down to one of two pairs. He made a choice, paid a big price and they were going to mount the bindings and  have them ready this morning at 7 am.  Good planning, right? We would get a ½ day skiing in if the visibility held through all that snow.

We dug out the hot tub and looked at the mountains as the snow fell on our faces. When Robert went to put the cover on the hot tub he slung the big piece of plywood on top of the cover to keep the snow from sinking it in. Soaked from the snow, it was heavy and awkward and he tore his bicep.

No one planned for a visit to the emergency room. No one planned to drive out early in the morning, picking up the new skis and heading down to the orthopedist.

On the 6 hour drive home, lots of topics come up in the car. Somehow it came out that Robert did not have a will. A handwritten document was around somewhere. Hmm. I asked if it had been witnessed? Um, well “no.” Planned or unplanned?

We don’t know if the snow will clear, and we can all have accidents, that is for sure. If you are like Robert, and you have not yet addressed what we all know to be coming, make me a commitment. Complete your will and trusts when you do your taxes this year.

And please, don’t count on getting an extension.

Relocated abroad

On the plane from Lima, Peru to Santiago, Chile I sat next to a young woman whose accent in English immediately caught my attention.  I had  offered in Spanish to switch seats with her as she had the middle seat between my husband by the window and my seat on the aisle, She smiled and agreed so I explained this to my husband in English. When we all got seated she spoke to me in fluent English with an Australian-Peruvian accent. I’d never heard that mix of accents before! And the vocabulary was SO Aussie, with that “ye-ah”, that long drawn out 2 syllable yay that Australians say.

My seat mate had lived in Australia for 2 years having met a guy there that didn’t want to move home to Peru with her.  Just married, she only goes home for 2 weeks to see her family each year.  She was sad and torn as she began the long travel back.

Next day at a winery outside of Santiago, we were on a minibus with a British accented woman who was visiting from the Chilean Coast. She explained that she came to Chile 27 years ago for a vacation and never went back. We met her husband Wolfgang who spoke no English.  It was a quick weekend get -away for them.  I asked her how she ended up staying in Chile? She said she really had no compelling reason to go back to England. And she loved Chile, so she stayed.  I heard her speaking perfect Spanish with her husband, with just the slightest British accent.

I was impressed with the courage of these 2 women of very different ages to pick up and go in opposite directions.   One from English to Spanish and the other from Spanish to English with all the cultural baggage that goes with it.  For the younger woman, she will always be the Peruvian to her husband’s family and friends. Maybe they think she married up or maybe they think she married down.  Same thing for the British woman. I wondered how their families back home felt.

I did not have long enough to ask all the questions that have come up for me since. But most of all, I admired their courage to take the risk. They both seemed happy with the choice they made.

This week I challenge you to ask someone who has relocated abroad to tell you their story.  You will probably find out how courageous that person is.