Business Is Anything But Usual

Today, as I write this blog post, we are just wrapping up our first full day of EntreLeadership Master Series in Tucson, Arizona. And I feel awesome. If am really being truthful,  who wouldn’t? The weather is perfect. It’s about 80 something, not a cloud in the sky and a cool breeze.

The hotel is beyond awesome, and if I play my cards right, I might be able to squeeze in a couple hours by the pool. OK, maybe 10 minutes or so while I eat lunch. But that is not what’s making me feel so great.

Each time I come to one of these events, whether it is the EntreLeadership Performance Series I host in Nashville, a one day EntreLeadership class or any Master Series, I have the honor of seeing lives being changed right before me. While at these events, small business owners learn they are not alone. Other business people are walking in their shoes and are  facing the same kinds of frustrations as they are.

And even better, these problems, some that can just about wear a soul down, can be fixed. That’s why they’ve come to Tucson. And when you see them actually get it, I don’t care how tough you are, it moves your heart.

So here’s to our next class of EntreLeaders who will graduate this Friday night. May you go back to your world, making it a better place, and spread the message that business is anything but “as usual.” Go home and find your joy!

While I’m here I want to give a shout out to the commenters on this blog. Thank you guys for sharing your words of wisdom to change lives every day! It means a lot to all who visit!

Question: What are you doing to make your business a better place.

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100 thoughts on “Business Is Anything But Usual”

  1. Thanks, Chris! What am I doing to make my business a better place? Grow it the right way!  That means debt free, slow, focused and above all, purposeful.  I tweeted the other day that the best thing about marketing coaching is seeing a small biz entrepreneur “get it.” That’s worth much more than money to me, which tells me I’m doing the right thing.

  2. splatteredink

    At Splattered Ink I’m trying to grow my business with a culture that will endure. I want my employees to be engaged by the team, our clients and the work. In our case, being engaged means that you simply care. What we’re doing here means a lot to people and it needs to mean just as much to us!

  3. Man, a shout out to US!!! He must really love us ;).
    To make the company I work for better I try everyday to put myself in the owner’s shoes and make the decisions he would make to benefit the company

    1.  @Skropp We’ll need to make some sort of initiation / hazing ritual for all the newcomers to the comment section that will come from Chris plugging his blog at the Master Series, right? 

      1. @Jonathan Henry Yup. We’ll come up with something ;). Make ’em introduce themselves and share their favorite ice cream flavor, favorite blog (no brainer) and favorite convenience store snack!

      1. @Aaron Nelson That’s what Dan miller says. We all work for ourselves, we may only have one customer (employer) but we still, in the end, work for ourselves.

  4. Chris, I’m trying to “lead from the trenches”, being part of a 17,000+ team within a very large, healthcare organization. The attitude and culture of my facility is very black and white. The rule book is already in place.

    What I can do as an individual is lead and thrive, without the title of leader. A positive work environment starts with a positive attitude.

    1.  @skottydog And a positive environment, like we’ve learned here, can be built from any level of the organization.  If you can’t influence the top, you can always start in the middle and have that ripple effect go through. I have the sense that you’re quite good at it!

      1. @lilykreitinger Funny you say that, Lily. I actually got a RAISE by stepping down from my weekday supervisor gig and into the weekend tech role.
        My manager said she still considers me a leader, as well as the go-to person on the weekends.
        I told her “don’t forget about me, now that you don’t see me anymore!”
        She said she hasn’t, and that there will always be other opportunities down the road.
        Very comforting from a boss who didn’t want me to step down. So, there seems to have been a positive ripple effect during my tenure.

    2.  @skottydog My husband used to get so frustrated working for the Nat’l Park because of the us vs. them (worker bees vs. admin.) He’d tell me that no matter what, nothing would ever change. I’d remind him that he had the power to make a difference over the people under him, even if he couldn’t change the baloney coming from above.

      1. @cabinart That is so true! I’m trying to keep it positive in my new role. And hope that the incoming supervisor keeps it going, or hopefully, makes it better!

    3.  @skottydog Titles mean nothing, and I’m sure you already know that. Leadership is influence – attitude TOTALLY determines your altitude. I also think that a genuine positive attitude will help people allow you to move into influencing range. 
       
      John Maxwell says it often: deeply influential leadership is always EARNED over time…. 
       
       

        1.  @Aaron Nelson  @Laura Johnson  @Aaron  I LOVED his talk at the Leadercast. He has this booming voice and commands the stage.  Great sense of humor and easy to follow principles.

        2.  @Laura Johnson  @Aaron  @Aaron Then I suggest you first look for his work on ‘time management’ LOL seriously, he has a great audio lesson about that on Itunes. I think it was like 15 bucks, but worth every penny in my humble opinion. It’s not time management, it’s priority management. 

        3.  @Laura Johnson   @Aaron There is a fairly decent summary of the Daily Dozen on this totally random website: http://mysteriousinnerworkings.blogspot.com/2009/08/daily-dozen-by-john-c-maxwell.html

  5. I’m in a similar boat as skottydog, it’s hardcore trench leadership at its finest.  The actual leadership of the company is, well, borderline nonexistent, so it’s up to most of us to do what we can to provide some semblance of leadership to our teammates.  I have a sign at my desk P.A.C.E. (Positive Attitudes Conquer Everything).  I know that if I am struggling to stay positive and do the right thing, then chances are other people in the office are too, so then it’s time to go spread some good to lift their spirits. 

  6. In order to make my function a better place, I have started to appreciate diversity in my team. I try to ensure that we create win-win solutions and not win-lose solutions. I think more can be achieved by encouraging constructive dialogue, healthy debates and developing and empowering people.

  7. Thanks for the shout out!!   I’m feeling a little intimidated here because my fellow female blog commentators have been absent for a while, except for Jana and Laura.So, I’m hanging out with the guys and having a blast… 
     
    As far as making my workplace a better place… I’m in a unique situation because as a consultant I don’t get officially included in many events, training, meetings… I’m an “external employee”.   However, I never say, “Hi, I’m Lily and I’m a contractor.” I don’t want the people with whom I work to feel that I am not engaged.  I work for an online university developing content for Master’s and PhD programs in all kinds of disciplines.  We interact with faculty members all over the world to produce high-quality courseware.  It is difficult to work with a “virtual” team where everyone is scattered all over.  There are a lot of egos involved and conversations can get complicated.  
     
    I’ve learned to identify people’s personalities and  what works best to communicate with them.  I’ve learned to focus on the common goal and not our personal differences.  One time I asked someone “Would you be comfortable enrolling in this class that we just produced and paying $X amount for it?”   I’ve learned to identify when the “problem is not the problem” as in people being extremely nitpicky and then I find out they’re swamped with work and haven’t taken a vacation in five years.   Fortunately, every single person that has been “difficult” has turned around and thanked me for listening and helping.   Not bad for an “external employee”  🙂

      1.  @ChrisLoCurto  I wonder that myself. I see a great organization with a lot of room to grow.  There’s a lot of “us versus them” going on.  It throws them off that I don’t see myself as an external consultant. When I use the terms “we” and “our students” it confuses them.  Some people don’t realize I’m a “contractor” until a few weeks of working together.  

        1.  @lilykreitinger That is totally how you will build better courses than any consultant around. One thing I’ve learned in being a teacher: the more deeply you get to know someone, the more power you earn to teach them something. 
           
          External consultants are just that…..external. 

    1. @lilykreitinger In my experience more often than not, the problem isn’t the problem, it’s a shell to hide the real issues. Great points!

  8. My workplace is my home studio, weekend shows, teaching people how to draw, and occasionally interacting with other artists. The best thing I can do to make each place better is to accentuate the positive in each place. I do this by looking for ways to keep positive info flowing into my head while working, treating every person who visits my space as a special person worth listening to, complimenting each student on what they are getting right, and NEVER letting conversations with other artists drift into the “woe-is-me” mode.
     
    Phew. I’m tired from all this lifting of sagging spirits! (BUT, “the joy of the Lord is my strength”! – if you are a Jon Acuff fan, you can see that I just Jesus-juked myself!)

      1.  @ChrisLoCurto   Thank you, Chris. It is a joy to be part of this community. . . positive and encouraging. 

  9. As an off-the-chart introvert, I have a soft demeanor, but a fierce resolve to do the right things. I continually hope I give the impression I’m more concerned with building my company (and those I work for) than building my own ego. And I never want to stop trying to prove I’m qualified to do what I do. Seems simple, but gets awfully complicated when I have few allies in the business world… which makes this little community of commenters all the more important.
     

      1.  @lilykreitinger Introverts can do a much better job at “faking” extroversion than the reverse. I do get excited about things (the ideas discussed here, for example) and when I do I get very animated about them.  Otherwise, I’m pretty clammed up. 🙂

        1.  @Jonathan Henry  @lilykreitinger LOL I hear ya there…and when I try to share those ideas with other people….that’s hard. Makes sense in my head and heart, but getting those ideas across…hard to do sometimes. 🙂

  10. Your post just made me feel all goosepimpley 🙂 I hope to some day be grown enough to be ready for that trip.
    What am I doing to make my business a better place? Always looking to learn and improve myself. And daily remind myself to not get lost in the mundane, but always look for something that needs to be done or improved.
    Thanks for sharing!!

    1. @Laura Johnson “getting lost in the mundane” man that’s easy to do!!! We get so determined down in the trenches that we forget to look up and see where the trench is leading us!

        1. @Laura Johnson It’s easy to do, then you realize you’re bored and you wonder why…then look up and realize you have forgotten the big picture!

  11. What am I doing to make my business a better place?
    – I’m learning how. (In other words, I don’t think or assume I already know the ropes. ) This is a lifelong attitude I hope to always cultivate. 
     
    -I’m doing my best to focus on the people who decide to work with me.  Like @Jonathan Henry  I’m an introvert by nature, so I really have to work hard on being intentional about developing, feeding, and deepening relationships with our team of teachers. Leadership is influence, and the only way influence happens is if people let you in. 

    1. @Aaron Nelson @Jonathan Henry I’ve noticed sometimes the people who are the best at showing they care about their people are the introverts… I’m sure you’re doing awesome at it 🙂

      1.  @Laura Johnson  I know Jim Collins inadvertently discovered that in “Good to Great.” The most productive companies he profiled were helmed by decidedly introverted CEOs.
         
        I’d like to think that introverted leaders do best with extroverted followers (being able to temper their action with thoughts), while extroverted leaders do great with introverts (forcing thought into action).

        1. @Jonathan Henry I like your thoughts on the contrasts!
          I haven’t read “Good to Great”, but that observation about introverts is pretty awesome–gives me hope! 😉

    2. @Aaron Nelson @Jonathan Henry I like your emphasis on learning NOW. It’s so easy to put off. Continuing to learn is definitely what Dr. Stephen Covey would define as “important but not urgent”

  12.  As a startup (or maybe business in general) I began to loose focus on what was happening right now, and put all my attention to what wasn’t happening. We’re going on almost a year and it occured to me that we are doing pretty good, thank God.
     So, with that note, I’ve become more grateful and less stressful. And to see that It also wears off on the people around me as well.
    Blessings to you and your team Chris!
     
    -Dennis Hernandez

    1. @dennis_hz Great points Dennis. It’s so easy to get caught up in what needs to be done or done differently that we can overlook all that’s going well. That goes along with the podcast that Chris did on focusing on your strengths…

      1.  @Skropp  @dennis_hz
         It sure is. Focusing is great, being it is steered the right direction. Thanks for your comment. Have a blessed day!

  13. My business has changed from day 1 of listening to you and Dave, and Jon…among others.  (Don’t forget about Medford!)  I don’t have to tell you, but I am anyway!  Sometimes you can’t see the forest through the trees, and your posts day in and day out continually refocus me to my company and why I’m here.  A heartfelt ‘Thank You’ doesn’t begin to express my appreciation.

  14. Business as usual. All of Congress needs to be VOTED OUT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Term limits need to be imposed. Gerrymandering abolished. And half of their salaries need to be cut. Right now they are in it for the money and not the will of the people.

  15. I’m trying to “lead from the trenches”, being part of a 17,000+ team within a very large, healthcare organization. The attitude and culture of my facility is very black and white. The rule book is already in place. What I can do as an individual is lead and thrive, without the title of leader.

  16. thanks for the shout out!!   I’m feeling a little intimidated here because my fellow female blog commentators have been absent for a while, except for Jana and Laura.So, I’m hanging out with the guys and having a blast…

  17. Again – cool event in Tucson – and I hope to get to one of these events soon1  Now – what am I doing?  Hopefully I am leading my team and creating a culture of excellence and service that goes above and beyond the “ordinary”.  And for the mortgage business in general – setting a standard of excellence on how we handle our military clients – they deserve the best we can give.

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