New business goal: Make the workplace great for the workers

I spoke at a “Lean” conference on Friday. Lean is a way of doing business where you do everything you can to run a business efficiently while still deeply respecting the people you work with. You’re making improvements that may help the bottom line, but your focus is on creating a better workspace. This conference was a great fit for me!

The last speaker was my favorite. His name is Kevin Hancock. He’s the President of a huge lumber company here in Maine, Hancock Lumber. As you can probably tell from the name of the company, he is family – 4th generation. What was fascinating about Kevin’s talk is that he hardly has any voice. He suffers from a rare ailment that makes his throat spasm when he talks. He’s been dealing with this for a couple of years, and while it was painful in a way to listen to him, he assured us it doesn’t cause him pain – it’s just hard for him to communicate. Continue reading

Take a break

I’m reading a new book by Daniel Pink,¬†When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. The chapter on the importance of taking breaks caught my eye because I’m so bad at taking breaks!

Pink reviewed dozens of studies and swears you’ll be more productive by taking breaks that are:

  • Short and frequent
  • Moving v. stationary
  • Social v. solo
  • Outside v. inside¬†
  • Fully detached v. walking while texting or talking on the phone

He describes the perfect break: Continue reading

Still not organized?

If you’re having trouble getting traction on your organizational goals, it may be time to take a step away from your work, take a deep breath, and look for root causes.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself. Continue reading

If you’re struggling at work…

I’m working with a new client who’s having trouble keeping his entrepreneurial work organized. He told me he has problems with his physical office space, and that he takes on too much work to have a private life.

I’m meeting with him next week and have been working on my notes. My first thoughts were around the space he’s in and the work he produces… Continue reading

Mind the Gap

I love when I’m traveling in England and the government courteously reminds me to “mind the gap” when exiting a train or subway.

As a life-philosophy, you also want to “mind the gap” between what you say and what you do. When you meditate or spend quiet time with yourself, it’s easy to think kind, generous thoughts. To feel connected to the earth. And to will the energy of the Universe to allow you to do your best work.

But if you’re cross when someone crosses you, or immediately feel disconnected when things don’t go your way, then it’s time to mind a gap in your life. If someone crosses you and you snap, practice stepping back mentally from the scene and sending that person loving kindness for whatever is going on with them. And see yourself from a distance, like a loving angel, and think, “That poor girl! I wonder what made her cross?” It takes practice to be non-judgmental with the world and with yourself but what a nice practice it is.

If you struggle with this, here are four things that may help you close the gap. Continue reading

“Mind your business”

When you “mind your business,” you’re doing a couple of really important things.

Continue reading

Getting started on team work

I’m starting to work heading up a big project that involves dozens of people in a mix of locations. This weekend, I felt immobilized by the volume of work and information I need to understand, and by the number of people I need to connect and work with.

It’s one thing to get yourself organized. It’s quite another to lead a large, highly efficient team – especially when you’re joining a team that’s used to working in a certain way and you’re the newest member.

So what do you do? I start by brainstorming a list of everything that’s knocking around in my head that needs to get done. Continue reading