Leadership Effectiveness

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Born Running | Extraordinary Business

As a business leader, when you started your business, you were born running.  It was easy to get up every day and simply make things happen.  You had a vision for where you wanted your business to go, who you wanted to serve and what you expected to happen as a result of your business’s existence.

As reality hit, as the economy shifts, you’ve discovered that things aren’t as you had dreamed.  The work is a little harder and longer, the business consumes more and more of your life, the world is less friendly and getting people to do more than talk about your products or services is a bit more complicated than you anticipated.image

But you know that you cannot stop running.  Like an athlete, you know that if you don’t keep running, you cannot finish the race – even those in last place do finish.  That is not so for those who quit.

Consider, for a moment, what it takes to be a great athlete.  It takes clear focus, training, understanding of what it takes to win, clear goals on how to get there and people around you to help keep you on track.  You recognize the rules and guidelines and make a choice whether or not to obey them.  You get the proper resources and make sure that they are maintained in order for you to keep running.  You have a coach – someone to point out ways for you to do what it is you do a little better.

As a business leader, it is no different.  Clear direction, training, conditioning, people and a coach are not just nice to have, but requirements for you to be able to run the race for the long haul.  As you scan the environment – your industry and your marketplace, at least, you will see businesses that could not make it – that had to quit as a result of any number of effectors.  You must consider to yourself what will keep you out of that haphazard heap of corpses.

While it is no easy feat, you’ve got to keep running.  If you trip and fall, you’ve got to get up and do it, again.  As an extraordinary leader, quitting is not an option.  Though you may change your course or your perspective, you don’t quit.  Be extraordinary.  Keep running!

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].


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Technorati Tags: Extraordinary Business,Extraordinary Leader,Focus,Determination,Vision,Goals,Coach
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Born Running | Extraordinary Business

As a business leader, when you started your business, you were born running.  It was easy to get up every day and simply make things happen.  You had a vision for where you wanted your business to go, who you wanted to serve and what you expected to happen as a result of your business’s existence.

As reality hit, as the economy shifts, you’ve discovered that things aren’t as you had dreamed.  The work is a little harder and longer, the business consumes more and more of your life, the world is less friendly and getting people to do more than talk about your products or services is a bit more complicated than you anticipated.image

But you know that you cannot stop running.  Like an athlete, you know that if you don’t keep running, you cannot finish the race – even those in last place do finish.  That is not so for those who quit.

Consider, for a moment, what it takes to be a great athlete.  It takes clear focus, training, understanding of what it takes to win, clear goals on how to get there and people around you to help keep you on track.  You recognize the rules and guidelines and make a choice whether or not to obey them.  You get the proper resources and make sure that they are maintained in order for you to keep running.  You have a coach – someone to point out ways for you to do what it is you do a little better.

As a business leader, it is no different.  Clear direction, training, conditioning, people and a coach are not just nice to have, but requirements for you to be able to run the race for the long haul.  As you scan the environment – your industry and your marketplace, at least, you will see businesses that could not make it – that had to quit as a result of any number of effectors.  You must consider to yourself what will keep you out of that haphazard heap of corpses.

While it is no easy feat, you’ve got to keep running.  If you trip and fall, you’ve got to get up and do it, again.  As an extraordinary leader, quitting is not an option.  Though you may change your course or your perspective, you don’t quit.  Be extraordinary.  Keep running!

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].


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Technorati Tags: Extraordinary Business,Extraordinary Leader,Focus,Determination,Vision,Goals,Coach
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Loving the Unlovable | Extraordinary Business

As a business leader, have you ever had an employee or associate that absolutely grates on your nerves?  It’s that associate who gives you a headache as soon as he or she walks into the room.  It’s that person that seems to know that they do get to you and strives to ensure that each day, their personal mission is to push you over the edge.
The impending aneurism would be a blessing right now.
For some reason, though, you don’t feel like you can part company with that person, for whatever reason.  Perhaps that person is the one that seems to pay an essential role in the company, or has an incredible amount of talent.  Perhaps they are a family member or friend or some other association.
There are two schools of thought that immediately come to mind.

  1. In the military, they were quite point blank – “Straighten up or we’ll get rid of you and find two people to take your place who can do the job better.”
  2. Find out what makes them tick…and wind their clock.

Option number 1 requires no investment in the person.  However, you’ve got to be committed to finding the person to replace the initial pain in your behind.  Many business leaders might feel that it isn’t worth the trouble and expense, and will simply continue to endure.  The problem with that mentality is that the problem will continue to exist, moral and productivity will likely be reduced, and you may lose other productive stakeholders – including employees.
Option number two does require investment in the person.  However, the results can be outstanding.  Think about it like this – you will have difficulty putting a round peg in a square hole.  No matter how much you push and pull, the fit will never be quite right.
If, on the other hand, you adjust the hole, suddenly, you have a good fit for the peg, and everyone is happy.  In the same way, finding out what motivates this challenged employee, and learning how to leverage their greatest strengths can be one of the best investment you make in your company.  You’ll be loving the unlovable, and find that you have great commitment and cohesiveness that you could have by trying to put a round peg in a square hole.
This could mean – just to be clear – that the peg might actually be the wrong fit for the company.  In that case, you may still need to help them move on to brighter pastures.  At the same time, however, they may be willing to help with the training and development process for the incumbent.
As a business leader, it is your job to make sure that the organization runs as smoothly as possible.  Being extraordinary means that at times, you will have to love the unlovable.  It means that you are going to have to invest in your employees.  It means making that square hole fit the round peg.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].
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Technorati Tags: Extraordinary Business,Extraordinary Leader,Employees
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Loving the Unlovable | Extraordinary Business

As a business leader, have you ever had an employee or associate that absolutely grates on your nerves?  It’s that associate who gives you a headache as soon as he or she walks into the room.  It’s that person that seems to know that they do get to you and strives to ensure that each day, their personal mission is to push you over the edge.

The impending aneurism would be a blessing right now.

For some reason, though, you don’t feel like you can part company with that person, for whatever reason.  Perhaps that person is the one that seems to pay an essential role in the company, or has an incredible amount of talent.  Perhaps they are a family member or friend or some other association.

There are two schools of thought that immediately come to mind.

  1. In the military, they were quite point blank – “Straighten up or we’ll get rid of you and find two people to take your place who can do the job better.”
  2. Find out what makes them tick…and wind their clock.

Option number 1 requires no investment in the person.  However, you’ve got to be committed to finding the person to replace the initial pain in your behind.  Many business leaders might feel that it isn’t worth the trouble and expense, and will simply continue to endure.  The problem with that mentality is that the problem will continue to exist, moral and productivity will likely be reduced, and you may lose other productive stakeholders – including employees.

Option number two does require investment in the person.  However, the results can be outstanding.  Think about it like this – you will have difficulty putting a round peg in a square hole.  No matter how much you push and pull, the fit will never be quite right.

If, on the other hand, you adjust the hole, suddenly, you have a good fit for the peg, and everyone is happy.  In the same way, finding out what motivates this challenged employee, and learning how to leverage their greatest strengths can be one of the best investment you make in your company.  You’ll be loving the unlovable, and find that you have great commitment and cohesiveness that you could have by trying to put a round peg in a square hole.

This could mean – just to be clear – that the peg might actually be the wrong fit for the company.  In that case, you may still need to help them move on to brighter pastures.  At the same time, however, they may be willing to help with the training and development process for the incumbent.

As a business leader, it is your job to make sure that the organization runs as smoothly as possible.  Being extraordinary means that at times, you will have to love the unlovable.  It means that you are going to have to invest in your employees.  It means making that square hole fit the round peg.

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].
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Technorati Tags: Extraordinary Business,Extraordinary Leader,Employees
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Pondering Pollen | Extraordinary Business

In Atlanta, like other cities, from March until the end of April, we are faced with one of the most debilitating repertory inhibitors: Pollen.  The pollen begins to fall, from everywhere, like a light snow, covering everything with yellow dust.  While many of us celebrate the arrival of spring, many more suffer from the onslaught of a seemingly useless enemy.

Like the pollen in our area that can rob us of appreciation for the upcoming summer months, useless tasks, activates and events can rob us of productivity in our businesses.  This is not to say that we, as business leaders, should not do the things that we enjoy.  Rather, it says that out time is limited, therefore, we should consider why we do certain things.

For example, if you are a member of a networking group, and you’ve decided that this networking group is one that you want to grow your business through, how are you measuring the amount of time you’ve spent versus the amount of “success” you are getting from the group.  How do you know when you might need to rethink about your participation in the group.  The “why” should be tagged to results.

I’ve known of people who have attended networking groups for years, pay their dues and show up each week, only to realize that the group is not netting them anything.  I’ve known of people setting up useless coffees and other sorts of meetings that were about as productive as pollen.  These are time wasters – thieves of our productivity!

As business leaders, we must guard our time.  It is one resource we have that is constantly at odds with our ability to get things done.  Ever here someone say, “I wish there were a few more hours in the day.”  Perhaps in a well-managed day, there are.  Studies have shown that it takes about 15-20 minutes for most people to get settled into an activity.  Therefore, with every distraction, we are losing up to twenty minutes of the workday.  It only takes 3 distractions throughout the day to lose an entire hour.  Six distractions takes about a quarter of your day.  In a chaotic environment, you will be seriously challenged to get much done.

Low productivity results in missed opportunities, lost revenues and the general feeling of being overwhelmed.  If you are constantly rushing to get things done, you will have the added challenge of not doing your best work and having to pay people to do the things that you should have been doing from the beginning.  It is, indeed, a vicious cycle.

Be extraordinary.  Guard your time.  You are building an extraordinary business.  Getting out from under the dandruff that will result in the early retirement of your business.

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].


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Technorati Tags: Extraordinary Business,Extraordinary,Business Strategy,Extraordinary Leadership
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Pondering Pollen | Extraordinary Business

In Atlanta, like other cities, from March until the end of April, we are faced with one of the most debilitating repertory inhibitors: Pollen.  The pollen begins to fall, from everywhere, like a light snow, covering everything with yellow dust.  While many of us celebrate the arrival of spring, many more suffer from the onslaught of a seemingly useless enemy.

Like the pollen in our area that can rob us of appreciation for the upcoming summer months, useless tasks, activates and events can rob us of productivity in our businesses.  This is not to say that we, as business leaders, should not do the things that we enjoy.  Rather, it says that out time is limited, therefore, we should consider why we do certain things.

For example, if you are a member of a networking group, and you’ve decided that this networking group is one that you want to grow your business through, how are you measuring the amount of time you’ve spent versus the amount of “success” you are getting from the group.  How do you know when you might need to rethink about your participation in the group.  The “why” should be tagged to results.

I’ve known of people who have attended networking groups for years, pay their dues and show up each week, only to realize that the group is not netting them anything.  I’ve known of people setting up useless coffees and other sorts of meetings that were about as productive as pollen.  These are time wasters – thieves of our productivity!

As business leaders, we must guard our time.  It is one resource we have that is constantly at odds with our ability to get things done.  Ever here someone say, “I wish there were a few more hours in the day.”  Perhaps in a well-managed day, there are.  Studies have shown that it takes about 15-20 minutes for most people to get settled into an activity.  Therefore, with every distraction, we are losing up to twenty minutes of the workday.  It only takes 3 distractions throughout the day to lose an entire hour.  Six distractions takes about a quarter of your day.  In a chaotic environment, you will be seriously challenged to get much done.

Low productivity results in missed opportunities, lost revenues and the general feeling of being overwhelmed.  If you are constantly rushing to get things done, you will have the added challenge of not doing your best work and having to pay people to do the things that you should have been doing from the beginning.  It is, indeed, a vicious cycle.

Be extraordinary.  Guard your time.  You are building an extraordinary business.  Getting out from under the dandruff that will result in the early retirement of your business.

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].


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Technorati Tags: Extraordinary Business,Extraordinary,Business Strategy,Extraordinary Leadership
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Eat or Be Eaten | Extraordinary Business

Someone once said that fear is what keeps deer alive.  If a deer senses a minute change in their environment, they immediately drop what they are doing to observe the change.  It is wondering:

  • Is it an enemy?   
  • Could this be a threat? 
  • Should we RUN?!?! 

The split-second decision path often keeps it out of the paws of would-be predators.

In elementary school, they call that ADD.  In the business world, we call that being savvy.  It is what can make the difference in the success or failure of your business.

As a business leader, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are aware of what is going on in your environment.  You should have credible sources of information at your fingertips that might tell you about impactors – or things that could have an impact on your business, and you need an organized way to gather and analyze the data that makes sense to you.

Understanding your environment is foundational to strategic planning.  If you likened it to designing a building, you need to understand many other factors, including the soil, traffic, use, etc., before the building design can be finalized. 

One tool that we use and find very effective is a STEEP analysis.  The STEEP analysis captures data related to your business or organization related to:

  • Society, in terms of purchasing patterns, interests, habits, buyer  confidence etc.
  • Technological changes in the marketplace
  • Economy – is the economy getting better or worse?
  • Environment – we often equate this to other players in the industry – trends, capabilities, capacities, etc
  • Political – legislation, regulation, government contracting, grant programs, etc.

Click on the picture above to see a visual representation of the STEEP assessment

Being able to recognize and respond properly to impactors in the environment is essential to the success and continuity of your business.  As a business leader, it is your responsibility to provide the guidance and direction for your company.  Be extraordinary.  Build an Extraordinary Business.

** “Fallow Deer Stag” Picture courtesy of Dr Joseph Valks

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].


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Technorati Tags: Extraordinary Business,Extraordinary Leader,STEEP,Impactors,Strategic Planning
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Eat or Be Eaten | Extraordinary Business

Someone once said that fear is what keeps deer alive.  If a deer senses a minute change in their environment, they immediately drop what they are doing to observe the change.  It is wondering:

  • Is it an enemy?   
  • Could this be a threat? 
  • Should we RUN?!?! 

The split-second decision path often keeps it out of the paws of would-be predators.

In elementary school, they call that ADD.  In the business world, we call that being savvy.  It is what can make the difference in the success or failure of your business.

As a business leader, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are aware of what is going on in your environment.  You should have credible sources of information at your fingertips that might tell you about impactors – or things that could have an impact on your business, and you need an organized way to gather and analyze the data that makes sense to you.

Understanding your environment is foundational to strategic planning.  If you likened it to designing a building, you need to understand many other factors, including the soil, traffic, use, etc., before the building design can be finalized. 

One tool that we use and find very effective is a STEEP analysis.  The STEEP analysis captures data related to your business or organization related to:

  • Society, in terms of purchasing patterns, interests, habits, buyer  confidence etc.
  • Technological changes in the marketplace
  • Economy – is the economy getting better or worse?
  • Environment – we often equate this to other players in the industry – trends, capabilities, capacities, etc
  • Political – legislation, regulation, government contracting, grant programs, etc.

Click on the picture above to see a visual representation of the STEEP assessment

Being able to recognize and respond properly to impactors in the environment is essential to the success and continuity of your business.  As a business leader, it is your responsibility to provide the guidance and direction for your company.  Be extraordinary.  Build an Extraordinary Business.

** “Fallow Deer Stag” Picture courtesy of Dr Joseph Valks

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].


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Technorati Tags: Extraordinary Business,Extraordinary Leader,STEEP,Impactors,Strategic Planning
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Striped Horses | Extraordinary Business

Who are you, really, and what will you do about it?

striped horsesMy wife and I were discussing the way people dress in life and the difference between those that dress authentically – the way that they feel and the way they want the world to perceive them – and those that dress, well, corporately, or the way that postulates the job they have or the role they are trying to fill.
The question became: if you aren’t comfortable with the attire you’ve chosen, how can you be as productive as you need to be? You cannot. While you might adapt to fit a role, you can never be completely successful in that role if you cannot bring all of who you are to what you do.
I took a DiSC assessment a few weeks ago while learning about Nicole Greer’s new offerings (Nicole is the Vibrant Coach that does work around personalities and team development). The assessment was divided into two areas: natural tendencies and adapted tendencies.
The natural tendencies are what I do best. It is where I operate from best. The adapted tendencies are the way that I have had to change my behavior in order to perform certain functions as a CEO of Aepiphanni.
The question becomes: what would happen if I could spend 80%, 90% or even 100% of my time in my sweet spot. What if I could just be a zebra instead of being a horse with stripes?
I would be more productive. I would be able to handle more work, I wouldn’t lose energy on tasks that steal my energy, I would probably have better balance in my life and grow the company faster.
This is called being authentically me.
Extending this to the way I dress, my office space, my car and my life, doing things well requires me to create an environment in which I can can more than function. It is where I have invested in becoming an extraordinary leader and where I have a vision for growing an extraordinary business.
This doesn’t mean that you go for the shock factor in every thing you do, but rather, present yourself in a way that will be most presentable and productive for the environment you are in.  That means accent yourself in a manner that makes you feel like you can perform at the top of your game and accomplish your mission.  As a professional, discernment is essential, meaning, that if you wear a bathing suit to a formal engagement, you may have difficultly accomplishing what you intended to do.
Be extraordinary.  Be in the place and the mindset that allows you to be most productive.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].
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Technorati Tags: Extraordinary Leader,Extraordianry Business,Leadership effectiveness,management and leadership
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