Archives for April 2013

Are You The Real Reason Your Company Is Stuck?

I hope you are as tired and bored as I am of chasing after rainbows and false starts.  DeathCare is undergoing a radical transformation.  And for those of you struggling with making that move here is excellent advice:

Screen shot 2012-07-02 at 8.03.03 PMAs small business owners we spend too much time: Learning to accept the fact that we need a team. Putting a team together. Don’t just let it fall apart because we can’t capture an idea and ride that horse until we break it in. There’s something to be said for tenacity and focus. In fact, you don’t have to be a great idea man (or woman) to be a game changer.  A single great concept that’s well executed holds more power than 25 unused proposals. Ideas Carry Potential, Which Is Why They’re So Attractive  But like children, if the idea is worth something, then it has be guided into maturity.  Action carries outcome. If you’re serious about doing something new, there are three sets of questions that should follow every brainstorming session:...More at Ideas Carry Potential: Action Carries Outcome | InnovationHeat

What I would do:

Absolutely read the article linked within this referenced article by Anita Campbell.

But, MOST IMPORTANT, i would screen every hot idea I get at a convention or trade article through the questions at the end of this article.  DeathCare is chasing too many imaginary rabbits down too many rabbit trails.

One last point that I will continue to hammer for owners who spend more time working “on” your business than you do working “in” your business.  If you are stuck and the needle is not moving take some time for introspection.  


There’s A Reason They Just Sit There

The myth of American business is the lone hero leader. The Lee Iacocca’s and Jack Welch’s who single handled rescue ailing businesses from certain disaster.

Funeral directors often self identify themselves as rescuers. It turns out that this is exactly the opposite of the best way to lead people…ESPECIALLY knowledge workers like funeral directors who respond in a predictably passive aggressive way to “command and control” style leadership.

hbrIt turns out there is a scientific reason why employees are less effective when tasks are dictated. Amy Arnsten, a neuroscience professor at Yale University, studies the importance of feeling in control. Her studies can be applied to employee autonomy in managing a team. In an interview at her Yale Laboratory, Arnsten explained that when people lose their sense of control, such as when tasks are dictated to them, the brain’s emotional response center can actually cause a decrease in cognitive functioning. This perception of not being in control, whether real or imagined, would presumably lead to a drop in productivity. If a manager describes the long-term outcome he wants, rather than dictating specific actions, the employee can decide how to arrive there and preserve his perceived sense of control, cognitive function, and ultimately improve his productivity….More at Stop Telling Your Employees What to Do – Harvard Business Review

What I would do:

The next time an employee comes to you for a solution ask them to make a recommendation. Assuming it won’t start the building on fire or land you or them in jail, act on it. You might surprise everyone. No matter what happens the look of shock will be worth the momentary panic you might experience.

Family Business On the Couch

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 8.34.07 AMFamily business, as we all know, has greater dynamics to deal with than non-family business. Here is an interesting video interview with the author of a new book: “Family Business on the Couch”. Some really good insights for family owned funeral homes.

Toxic Clients & How To Treat Them

We all have them. Obnoxious clients who make our lives miserable and undermine morale.

Here is some great advice :

 hbrLaw firms have a hard-earned reputation for being really tough places to work. Today I see an increasing amount of toxicity in those firms. Over the past couple of decades, I’ve met with partners and managing partners at regional and national law firms, who have not infrequently found themselves bullied by greedy, selfish, entitled, angry clients or even other partners.

Go into the conversation holding a little of yourself back; when they reach that “tipping point” into toxicity, you won’t be blindsided. Prepare for that knock-out punch insult by saying to yourself, “Here it comes.” Then take a deep breath, look them straight in their left eye (which is attached to their right emotional brain), pause until they realize they haven’t provoked you into losing your cool (even if they say something else to insult you) and then select one of the following replies: More Reading