Monthly Archives: June 2011

All because of a broken pinky – bad things happen all the time in life and in business.

Six weeks ago, my horse, Wyatt, and I were practicing for up an upcoming Western Pleasure show. Each time we passed the main gate of the arena (passing the feeding  barn), he gently reminded me that it was dinner- time. After a little extra urging with my heels, we continued on without any worries.

Near the end of our practice, we were cantering our last lap around the arena when he decided it was time.  It was time for dinner!  He hit the brakes, stopping us both short.  In an attempt to catch myself my right pinky finger got tangled up in his reins and mane and I felt the snap!

At my check up, I learned that my finger wasn’t healing.

The surgeon had more bad news for me.  He informed me that my finger probably wouldn’t have broken if it weren’t for the benign tumor hollowing out the inside of the bone of my finger.

Again, WHAT?  I mean, who has ever heard of such a thing?

It was just a broken pinky, wasn’t it?  How did I go from a quick short stop on a horse to having bone drilled into and replaced almost four months later?

But, doesn’t this happen in business more often than we realize?

Sometimes there is some weird (not even noticeable) underlying problem that somehow snowballs into a catastrophe.

Before we know it, the problem is taking its course of action and we are scrambling to make sense of how such a little thing became so burdensome. It starts to suck the life out of us after a while.

After all, I was shocked on week four that the healing process wasn’t going as planned.  That happens too.  Sometimes we have the best laid plans for correcting a bad business deal, unhappy employee or customer, or getting equipment on the floor back up and running on time.  Life happens.  Stuff happens.  Business happens.  And, the recovery process sometimes takes just a little bit longer than we’d like it to.

We learn from these situations. We learn to not take the little things for granted. We learn that if we ignore little brewing issues, they have the potential of blowing up in our faces. That’s not to say that we have to stand vigilant over every minor detail.  Lord knows, in business, there are a lot of them; but, it’s important to pay attention.

I could have been paying more attention to Wyatt.  I know him better than that.  I know he usually takes his smarty-pants self to the next level if he doesn’t think you’re paying attention.  No, I couldn’t have ever known that my little pinky was slowly being eaten away by something as odd as a growing tumor, but it reminded me that paying attention is important, recovery often takes much longer than expected or hoped for, and it’s important to surround ourselves with the experts who can help us fix and get through the messes we sometimes find ourselves in.

Welcome my latest Guest Blogger Annie!

About the author:  Annie Shetler is a Business Consultant with the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center and Coordinator of Business Training Alliance of Wexford and Missaukee Counties. Employed by the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments for the past six years, Annie still finds time to work with her family who owns and operates Shetler Family Dairy located in Kalkaska, Michigan.

Help Needed!! Who am I?

I have found my title doesn’t really denote anything.  It may be written next to my name, but it doesn’t tell you what I do.  “Master of all Trades” doesn’t really work either!

I have decided to reach out and look for an accurate job title. Here is what I do:

I have a  “degree” in:  public relations, human relations, business, finance, economics, (although I somehow struggle to even balance my check book), political strategies (just recently moved over to the republican side), marketing, graphic design, fundraising, marriage, family and whining counseling.

I am expected to recognize the voices of all callers over the phone, recite from memory the exact dates of our company events, and if the clients’ signed up their spouse and buddies.

I personally accept blame for the poor mail delivery, high gas prices, long check-in lines, not having fresh coffee, the 50 degree days in June and not having the front office door unlocked at 8am.

I am able to find every unemployed or unemployable person a high paying, incredible job within two weeks. (More than I make all too often.)

I can make a meeting room warm and cool at the same time; I can program the computer, fix the copy machine, defrost the freezer AND replace the toilet paper with the paper the rolling the right way around (which most cannot do).

I can predict the number of people that will attend a banquet, before the registrations are even mailed.  AND I can cook-to-perfection every entrée, to please every guest.

I can forecast sunshine and 80 degrees the day of the golf outing.

I sit on three boards, four committees, and attend almost every event to make my appearance.

I am expected to smile, empathize, sympathize, console, and be politically correct at all times….

And I still find time to take every phone call, email, and unscheduled visit from clients, board members, prospective clients, and upset consumers.

I should tell you, my hours could range from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. (plus on call texting and phone calls.)

Oh and finally there is the all -inclusive bit at the end… any other duties that may be assigned from time to time.So, with all that, I need a title!  Please submit your suggestions!  Please no profanity!

Guest Blogger: “Sister Mae I Help You”

Business Point- Don’t let this be your employee- all businesses leaders need to ensure that the people who work for them know what they must do to make their business a success!

“What if my life were the only “bible” some people ever read?” Leadership Thoughts.

Leadership begins and ends with who you are and what you do.

Some time ago I wrote a blog “A community – Developing a oneness and a calmness.”

In that blog I said “after all life is not about us, it’s about what we do, who we are – our character and reputation, the legacy we leave behind.”

A friend of mine Bonnie Liabenow also expressed similar sentiments in her book “Excellence with Simple Elegance”

Interestingly we did not speak to each other about our thoughts, and yet we are of similar voice.

I strongly maintain that the community we build surrounds and includes all those who are in our “circle” It also includes those who we don’t yet know but whose lives we somehow touch unknowingly and unwittingly.

So when I was reading Bonnie’s book I just had to reflect on the words of Bruce Wilkinson in his book “Beyond Jabez”

I have taken poetic liberty to adapt his brilliant thoughts to the business world, the world that I know so well. And yet… the community we live in includes everyone, not just those we go to work with.

I continue to come back to “it is one world one community” Developing a oneness that opens up an experience that is wonderful for all.

Leadership thoughts – creating one community.

  1. Create a community and a place where things are better because of your presence and what you do.
  2. Ask yourself “Are people better for knowing you?”
  3. Ask yourself “Do I leave a ”positive aura” through the work I do and the people I meet?”
  4. Ask yourself “Do I create a “shining light” in the hearts of others?”
  5. Ask yourself “Am I honoring my calling and my destiny?”
  6. Make certain that you represent not only yourself in what you do but your family, faith and what you truly believe in.
  7. Ask yourself “What characteristics in me do I wish others to follow and adopt and are they ones that will create fairness for all?”
  8. Ask yourself “What if my life were the only “bible” some people ever read?”
  9. Ask yourself “Do I actively exhibit the following: a good heart; Love and joy; peace; patience; kindness and goodness; faithfulness and gentleness and self control?”

And finally in you’re serving of others we need to remind ourselves “That God did not call us to have lots of friends but to be a friend” the words of Dr. Bill Anderson.

One community starts with you, and you are the community whether at work, with family, with friends, whatever your choice of faith or religion. Leadership begins and ends with who you are and what you do.

Leadership is about…..

Many books give us the answers! Do we listen or learn? How many do we need to read to get it?

It has never been about the reading. It has always been about the adopting, about the doing.

The Great American W.Edwards Deming gave us “The 14 points to lead us “Out of Crisis”

His frustration? His own fellow Americans did not listen so he had to go to those who would and did it!

Americans did not listen so he went to Japan!

The rest we know…

He demonstrated what was needed to transform American business and economy.

He said this some 40 years ago!

“The overwhelming challenge that faces the United States today is the need to regain competitive position in international commerce. America in fact continues to lose ground in manufacturing and service markets….”

“Management in time will be judged not by the quarterly dividend, but by plans and innovation with the aim to stay in business…”

There are probably half a million books on leadership and more every year.

There are some that have already been written that we need to learn and then adopt.

This is one of them…

Extracts from W.Edwards Deming Book “Out Of the Crisis”

Palliative care is for the soul and for the living.

The goal of palliative care is to relieve suffering and provide the best possible quality of life for people facing the pain, symptoms and stresses of serious illness. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage of an illness, and can be provided along with treatments that are meant to cure you. Source

I came across the power of palliative care when I was working in a hospital. I often thought why now and why not before when a family and their loved one could have really prepared themselves.

It really hit hard though when I wrote about my brother in law Joe, in my blog:

Often palliative care is introduced into a person’s life far too late in their life. If only, this gift helped folks live a better life for a little longer than their last few months or days or hours.

Gifts like this need to be shared much earlier.

You see, we all need this, all of the time, and we need it now. We need it while we still have a life to lead.

I see too many people suffering without any support system. Where is the help they need?

What a better life they would have had if only…

In memory of Joe and the great work of those who serve in the world of palliative care.



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