Tats, Trucker Hats and Rug Rats

Over the next few months I will be transitioning my life and my business from Hood River, Oregon to Austin, Texas. There I will nurse my wounds from a divorce amidst old friends and my loving family. 

I am reflecting on my last big transition. Before coming to rural Oregon for my husband’s job in 2010, I provided leader, team and organization development support as an employee inside typical corporate environments (think financial services, software, aerospace and defense). Since there were no companies in Hood River at that time big enough to have a staff Organization Development job, I started my own consultancy serving small businesses in our community. 

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My Value of Authentic Relationships

I am at a Consulting Psychology conference, awaiting a breakout session on Values. Ordinarily I’d be drawn to sessions about measuring a leader’s behavior change from coaching to demonstrate a return on investment. 

At this moment in my life, I am reflecting on a value I hold deeply - Authentic Relationships, which is rooted in a basic human need for connection. Why Authentic Relationships? The first reason is that when life happens and stuff gets real, transactional relationships offer no room for error. Yuck. The second is that Authentic Relationships give you the courage to step into the discomfort when you are unsure what to say but show up anyway to be present with people in their suffering. I want to feel that safety and offer that safety in my relationships.

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Stephanie Hartman Comments
Do I really have to compliment my employees all the time? That's why they get paychecks.

In my last post, I shared the Hartman Performance Diamond as a model to think about the four key enablers to effective employee performance. Those were 1-Expectation Clarity, 2-System for Success, 3-Competence, and 4-Motivation.

When I conduct assessments to uncover why team members are not performing well, the most frequent breakdown I find is Expectation Clarity, which I recently covered. The next most frequent breakdown I see is in the area of Motivation.

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Uh, Thanks for Vacuuming the Broom Closet…. Not! – Tips for Managing Employee Expectations and Motivation

Sometimes employees believe that they are taking initiative and being helpful by doing a little ‘something extra’. Their initiative and intentions are great! However, if the extra thing is something that doesn’t make any difference to you or your business, the employee can feel unappreciated when no one causes a fuss.

If an employee isn’t performing in the way they should - you may ask yourself if they know what is expected. Employers think this should be obvious or common sense. Unfortunately, common sense isn’t common. That is unless your employees grew up in the same neighborhood as you, were born in the same year, in the same birth order, with the same parents as role models, etc., etc..

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Why a Red Gucci Purse is Totally Part of Strategic Planning

You might be asking yourself, “What in the world does strategic planning have to do with a Red Gucci Purse?” My answer to that would be EVERYTHING! 

It’s the beginning of the year. You’ve updated your strategic plan, including your 2017 goals, and are getting back to business at hand. This is great, but how do you keep focused on achieving those goals while keeping everything else going? And for multi-step goals, at what point do you claim success?

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I Love Them, I Love Them Not

We’ve all had them.  The ones who’ve made things feel so exciting and effortless.  The ones you think about and can’t wait to see again and again.  No, I’m not talking about the Valentines of years gone by, I’m referring to the favorite customers of your present.  There are the customers you LOVE to love and the customers you love ‘not so much’.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could just love them all?  Or at least figure out how to make the ones who you don’t love, more lovable? Or just wrap things up and move on?

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What the Heck is Strategic Planning and How Do You Do It?

Many people have heard the term but are unsure what strategic planning is. Strategic planning is a process that helps leaders design their organization’s destiny with intention, instead of simply reacting to what the world throws at them. If you own a small business, you might think strategic planning sounds like corporate hogwash. Even if you see value in it, perhaps it seems daunting and boring. Frankly, if done poorly, it can be all of those things.

By helping over 20 businesses a year in many different industries do strategic planning, I’ve had the benefit of LOTS of cycles of learning. So I am confident to say that my version of strategic planning, which I call Own Your Future, provides the structure to get business and life-altering results, is fairly straightforward to follow AND is fun. Boom!

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There's a Tear in My Beer

It is strategic planning season and I’m reflecting on some of my favorite client memories. A few years ago, I worked with Everybody’s Brewing on some long term planning. They set a target on their milestone timeline to: “Get Everybody’s beer in a can.”  This strategy would not only allow for much greater distribution beyond their immediate community, but would help them grow and move closer to their vision of putting little old White Salmon, Washington on the world map.

Fast forward to the next year:  I was visiting another client in Portland and we went to lunch. In the fridge at the deli, right before me, I saw

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Lower the Cake Dome

We all have ‘that person’.  You know, the one who can instantly make us anxious and wish we were anywhere else, doing anything else, but having to interact with him (or her). Interestingly, you may like or even love this person. Or, maybe not.  Regardless, he has the uncanny ability to set off an unpleasant emotional response (aka, push the hell out of your buttons).

This mere fact alone might be reason enough to distance yourself from this person at all times.  What happens though, when you can’t; when ‘that person’ is a colleague, employee, customer or God-forbid, a family member?

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Why I Have Double Vision and Think Your Business Should Too

In my strategic planning work, I’ve found that a grand long-term vision like: ‘putting your tiny town on the world map’ is wonderful for inspiring your team to persevere through challenging times. I like to think of this long-term vision as your “When It’s All Said and Done” (WIASD). However, though inspiring, your WIASD may lack the specificity to guide your team members’ immediate efforts. It may also fail to provide a much needed near-term fix to fuel everyone’s momentum. This is where a near-term vision or an “Amazing Not Too Distant Future” (ANTDF) can help.

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