On Encouragement

articles Sep 15, 2020

A school bus driver in Massachusetts has his students to thank for encouraging him to become a history teacher. While driving kids to school, Clayton Ward would talk to them about their history lessons. “It inspired me, hearing them say ‘You should be my teacher,'” the 30-year old bus driver said. He had dropped out of college 10 years ago but through the encouragement of the students and his love of history, he enrolled in Community College and graduated with a 4.0 GPA while continuing to drive the bus. He has now enrolled this fall at Framingham State University to finish his bachelor’s in history with a minor in education.

Make no mistake. A small word of encouragement can inspire another person to do great things.

You were likely inspired by a teacher, mentor, community leader or classmate to become what you are today. Have you taken a moment to let those people know you’re thinking of them during this pandemic?

 

Have you leaned into your...

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On Priorities and Profit

articles Jul 31, 2020

The pandemic and economic crisis have forced Disney to adapt very quickly. Without the anticipated summer blockbuster movie releases, the firm has realigned its priorities. The reopening of Disneyland in California has been postponed indefinitely. Hong Kong Disneyland has shut down again and Disney World in Florida is on shaky ground.

The glue that connected blockbuster stories and characters with retail sales, live entertainment on Broadway and theme park attendance has made Disney extremely vulnerable in a pandemic. Even ESPN, the franchise that is supposed to help weather any economic downturn, was essentially stuck in the mud, without any live sports to broadcast until recently. As a result, Disney’s stock has fallen 18% in the last six months.

But, the Walt Disney Company isn’t the only firm experiencing economic shockwaves following the coronavirus and social distancing. Coca-Cola generates nearly half of its revenue from out-of-home consumption at sporting venues,...

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Memory and Management

articles Jun 30, 2020

Barbara Kingsolver said, “Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth but not its twin.”

In coaching clients, I often ask to see a lot of numbers. KPIs and benchmarks, historical performance and pro forma data are all important. The reason I ask for data is because our memories are not perfect.

  • We think quarter-over-quarter growth was good, but the numbers might indicate we did better or worse than we remember. Measurement helps us discover trends, opportunities or weaknesses and then connect those to future action.
  • We think our employees answer the phone a certain way, present treatment using the most efficient scripts and help patients say yes to treatment, leveraging the best financial options and systems for each family.
  • When we play prospect, secret shop, video and audio record, watching film, however, we see a different reality. One in opposition to our memory. In too many businesses, the reality on the ground simply does not...
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You Have Everything You Need.

articles May 28, 2020

Scientific American describes the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into a butterfly like this: “One day, the caterpillar stops eating, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf and spins itself a silky cocoon or molts into a shiny chrysalis. Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly or moth.”

Recently, I listened to an incredibly fascinating Radiolab segment on caterpillars. Researcher, Martha Weiss, explained how caterpillars go through a biological meltdown that reduces them to soup.

“Not only does the caterpillar turn into a soupy matrix but it also stores away helpful structures inside its body early in life. Jan Swammerdam, a Dutch microscopist from the 1600s, was the first to demonstrate that there are some of the structures of the future butterfly inside the caterpillar. The wings, antennae, and even the legs are actually already formed even before pupation takes place. Crazy,...

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