Monday, May 26, 2014

Creating the future

 “Don’t worry about what anybody else is going to do….The best way to predict the future is to invent it!”, Alan Kay

How much time do you spend thinking about how to disrupt your industry?  What would it take to stand everything on its head? 

All my clients tend to enjoy what they make/sell/do. About 25% of them are thinking about how to change how people buy/use/experience what they do.  These 25% spend more time dreaming, more time looking around corners and more time focused on improving every aspect of their company. 

These are the business owners who are predicting the future by inventing it.  If you want to be one of them, here are some specific and simple activities that will increase your chances for inventing the future you desire: 

1.    Vision: The more clarity you have and the better you are able describe to others what that vision looks, feels and sounds like, the better
2.    Desire:  If you don’t want it (whatever the “it” is) it is unlikely you will get it
3.    Commitment:  What will it take to achieve your dream goal? 

If you are still ready for more, then do these:

4.    Learn to be disciplined (I did not say easy… I said simple)
5.    Learn to be curious
6.    Learn to be resilient

Alan Kay accomplished a great deal in his professional life.  So can you.  Being a Member in an Excell Group is not a sit back and be filled up classroom.  It is tough work.  Cheers to all those who take on this kind of work.  What have you found creates your desired future?

Monday, May 19, 2014

What we think, determines what we see

What I heard and read indicated that being able to stretch and twist was critical to scoring in the 70’s and 80’s in a round of golf.  Throughout my four years playing golf, I told myself that what would ultimately hold me back was my body’s inflexibility.

So, when I began studying the physics of golf, I was a bit surprised to find that while it can be important, flexibility is not fundamental to forming a smooth easy golf swing that rockets a drive 250 yards.  What is more amazing to me is that I began hitting the ball further while maintaining and improving my accuracy.  Why amazement, because I began to see others (really good golfers) maintaining looseness and suppleness in their wrists and arms throughout their swing. 

Had these golfers all changed their swings?  No, I simply was seeing something for the first time… something that had always been there. With these “new” observations, I see a path to playing golf down in to the rarified air of scratch golfers. 

A part of the work I do with my business clients, is getting them to see a belief that they have and how that belief is limiting them.  My client’s often believe something exists and that belief is keeping them from growing their businesses in a sustainable way.  Here some examples of limiting beliefs that clients I have work with have held:

• I have too much to do and can’t focus down on one thing
• If I just work harder, the company can get over this hurdle
• There is no way I can train our team.  I just need to get people who have done this before. 
• We can’t finance our growth and no bank will finance it. 

Many of the CEO/business owners in our Excell Groups, tell me that a big part of the value in their group is looking around and seeing others who have not let their beliefs limit the growth of their businesses and then lay down that belief and go grow their own business. 

Ask yourself, “What do I see and does my belief around what I see hold me back?”  Love to hear some of your thoughts/beliefs and what you would like to do about them. 

Toughest part of leadership

Today we have a guest blog from Jim Hessler:

I surfed the ‘net today looking for answers to this question:
“What is the toughest aspect of leadership?”
Not surprisingly, I found a lot of answers.  Examples:

  • Making decisions
  • Looking at yourself honestly
  • Dealing with conflict
  • Building a culture
  • Taking action when you “don’t know”
  • Dealing with negative employees
  • Letting go and delegating
  • Being consistently positive
But here’s my favorite. It comes from a college basketball coach named Kevin Eastman:
  • The hardest part of leadership is this:  you must be able to tell the truth.
Amen, Kevin. I agree wholeheartedly. The ability to speak the truth is a rare quality. It involves risk.  It invites conflict.  It often incites passionate response.  For all these reasons, it takes tremendous courage.
Like so many other aspects of leadership, telling the truth puts you “out there” in an exposed place – on the proverbial limb where all you can hang onto is a fierce belief in your instincts, your convictions, your intellect, and your openness to being influenced by the perspectives of others.
Telling the truth also creates tremendous potential for growth – for you, for your relationships, and for your organization.
As you go through the rest of your day today or tomorrow, monitor how aligned your words are with your convictions.  Are you couching?  Hedging?  Not being as straightforward as you could for fear of … what — not being able to tell the truth effectively?
Or, on the other hand, do you tell the truth too bluntly, not assessing how it’s landing on the recipient – not assessing whether the way they hear it motivates them in a positive way?


… brings over 25 years of business management and executive leadership experience to Path Forward, which he founded in 2001.
Jim has been an award-winning salesman, sales manager, general manager, and executive. He has specialized in turning around underperforming operations, and in the mid 90’s he helped lead a massive national reorganization for a Fortune 150 company.
Jim’s experience in general management has resulted in broad and deep knowledge of nearly all aspects of a well-run business. From building and managing a sales organization, to managing complex inventories and delivery systems, to generating vision and trust in demoralized organizations, to leading complex restructuring efforts, Jim has earned a depth of knowledge and insight that serves his Path Forward clients exceedingly well, regardless of the leadership challenges they face.
Jim lives in Issaquah, Washington, and has been married for 32 years to Paula Weiss, a teacher in the Issaquah School District.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Your Achilles Heel

Today we have a guest blog from Dan Weedin:

Last summer, I suffered an injury to my Achilles heel. I’m 49 years old, and for my fellow mid-lifers, it’s a very common malady. After visiting my doctor, I learned that what I actually was suffering from was a condition called Achilles “tendonosis.” The difference between tendonosis and tendonitis is that “isis” is acute, and “osis” means chronic.  Basically, this was an ailment that I would have to be dealing with forever. The good news was that there were some exercises and stretches that I could do that would reduce the inflammation and relieve the pain.

After assiduously following my regimen, the symptoms went away. This year, they popped back up. I had been extending myself with exercise and was beginning to feel a little discomfort. Then I walked the hill from the ferry terminal up to the Washington Athletic Club. Wow! I felt like an old man (and probably looked like one, too). I can blame it all I want on walking hills and overuse, yet the problem was me. I felt better, so I stopped doing what improved it. My Achilles Heel roared back like a lion.

When you have Achilles pain, you discover that it greatly affects your normal walking. I realized that this small part of my otherwise healthy and able body was causing chaos. It was slowing my progress, forcing me to divert to different routes, causing pain, and generally being a nuisance and distraction.

What is your Achilles heel in your business or personal life? My guess is that each of us has blights that keep us from maximizing our talents and value. Something that distracts us, wastes time, causes pain, or just simply creates chaos. This Achilles heel is keeping you from reaching your potential. AND, if you suffer from the chronic “osis,” you’re allowing it to drag on and on, with the danger that you will never fix it and could “rupture” your dreams and passions.

We are all guilty at times of fixing our symptoms and then relaxing when we feel better. Just like the pain in my heel. Yours will also come back to bite you hard if you stop working at it.
The moral of the story is this…Fix it. Fix whatever allegorical Achilles heel you’ve been carrying around before it becomes chronic, or worse, ruptures. The sooner you identify it and then eliminate it, the sooner you will be unleashed from its burden. 

Now, get “walking!”


Dan Weedin helps turn his clients business risk into rewards. He is able to take the abstract concepts of risk and crisis management to help business owners prepare and respond more effectively and with less time and cost to crisis. Since he doesn’t work for an insurance company or agency, he is able to act as an unbiased advocate for his clients. You can lear ore about Dan and how he can help your business on his web site at