Notes from Jeff York

Small business marketing thoughts from a marketing small business owner

Posts Tagged ‘opportunity

New opportunities

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cheese2hqThis week, a completely new opportunity opened itself to me. It scares me. It comes at a time when the economy has everyone on edge.

It’s an opportunity that I’m going to grasp with both hands.

If you have not read Spencer Johnson‘s book Who Moved My Cheese, but plan to, then I apologize. This week’s blog post is going to be a spoiler for you. If you don’t plan on ever reading the book, then I apologize again. This is going to be one long ad for the book.

The book itself is short and easy to understand. It’s one of the few books (along with Jane Bryant Quinn’s excellent Making the Most of Your Money) that I kept after reading and refer back to time and time again.

There are different times when we are given opportunities to move beyond our comfort zone. The safety of our current position and situation makes looking at change a little daunting and downright scary. However, moving beyond our comfort zone is often an excellent way to blast through professional barriers that we sometimes find ourselves behind. Taking advantage of new opportunities is also an excellent path to new experiences that will allow you to grow as both a professional and as a person. Sometimes we get too comfortable and starting thinking of cheese as Cheese.

While I don’t advocate hopping from one situation to another and instead hope you would practive careful deliberation before making decisions, I submit (while borrowing heavily from Johnson’s book) that you continue to make yourself open to the “cheese” being moved, adapt to the change quickly, and enjoy the change!

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Written by Jeff York

March 28, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Failure as an opportunity

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defeat“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

“If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” – Thomas Edison

Every been beaten down emotionally or professionally? I think every has. It’s not a pleasant experience. When in the throws of the aftermath, it can be difficult to find the silver lining in such a situation. However, to paraphrase the adage, it didn’t kill you, therefore you must be stronger.

So, what did you learn? Did you make a huge mistake? In the grand scheme of things, how big was it?  Did you or your company lose money? As a past manager, I’ve made my share of mistakes as has my staff. Each and every time, we’ve learned from the experience and used it to know what not to do next time. My staff might have cost us some money, but I write that off as the cost of education. As long as we don’t make that mistake again and truely learn from it, it was worth the negative.

Let’s take what I think is an excellent way to turn lemons and make some outstanding lemonade in a group setting.

The best run organizations run in an environment where members can feel free to make mistakes, admit to them in a group, and not feel like there will be dire consequences (within reason). It’s not easy to admit to a mistake. It’s far easier to try to sweep things under the carpet and pretend they don’t exists. However, think of all the damage done when members feel like it’s in their best interest to either deny or, worse yet, displace blame.

Embrace the mistake. “Yep, I screwed up. Here’s what I did. Here’s what I/we learned. Here’s what we’re going to do.”

In this current technological age, it’s pretty easy to set up an internal or restricted access Wiki. Put the information there for people to reference and learn from. There’s no need to make it personal. The information can be added such that no names are involved at all. Just the facts, ma’am. Now the organization that suffered from the mistake can now benefit from that cost.

What about personal failures? Even been fired? Ever file for bankrupcy? Opportunities! Both of them.

What did you do that got you into that situation? Are you going to do it again? Maybe it wasn’t anything you felt you did wrong, but went out on a limb to try something new and it “failed.” If that organization isn’t strong enough or savvy enough to try new things to grow, then maybe the lesson learned is to not associate with that type of organization again.

The key thing I’ll hope you remember, sometimes the biggest failures result in the biggest successes.

Stories you’d like to share? I think we could all benefit from hearing about how you turned a difficult situation around and learned from the experience.

Written by Jeff York

February 15, 2009 at 5:04 pm