Experience 30-minute Issue Coaching session


Action plan, Behavior, Business Insights, Creative, Marketing, Workplace

And to all a good night . . . and something to think about

Recently, I traveled to Chicago for a family event—fun, reunion, and sharing galore! I took my first Uber rides and am enamored of the system Uber has created.

The front end of the trip went smooth as silk. Then it was time for me to leave, and the stars were misaligned to test my mettle.

Besides the constant, pounding rain, my son and I got a lazy start to the airport more than an hour away. After walking his new puppy before we left, he realized he had locked his car and house keys inside. There went gasket one! He kindly called an Uber car and the adventure began.

Within minutes the car arrived, and we raced against the clock as the pounding rain pelted the vehicle like nails being dropped from six floors up. Wow—it was a Noah’s Ark moment. Combine that with the crippling traffic, and I was destined to miss my flight. Usually not a big deal, but I have a disabled husband awaiting my timely arrival at my destination.

After slugging through the squall, the driver dropped me at the curb. The two curbside people were like a comedy routine. I had 15 minutes to arrive at the gate before my seat was relinquished. “Naw, don’t even try to get there. You still have to go through security and you want a wheelchair?” “Ah, ah, lady. You’ll never make it.” So, now I was diverted to a different flight as a standby behind four others—not good odds, especially with the weather issues. I asked the agent to put my bags on my original flight so it would arrive before me on a later flight. “Sure, no problem.”

I creep into the terminal looking for the wheelchair section. Another 15 minutes click by. But, I got lucky. An attentive young women, Salma, was my engine.  I told her my dilemma and she was an optimist. She had the gate of newly assigned flight and we clipped along as she asked if I needed the restroom or something to eat; she would stay with me and assist. What a delight juxtaposed to the two buffoons that took my bag, which, by the way, put my bag on the later flight! True, I should’ve checked the ticket at the counter, but I was frazzled and relied on them doing their jobs; big mistake.

Anyway, Salma was my good luck charm. As we whirled through security, she found the gate for me.
Next to it was the original flight I thought I had missed, but it was delayed due to the torrential rain! Now, I have to negotiate a line of people for the later flight and begged my way to the front of the line. The reservation agent said go to the boarding area (I had the boarding pass in my phone!) as the boarding was almost done. Got through that line and the agent there said I hadn’t checked in, even though I have the boarding pass on my phone! Back to original line with poor Salma not knowing how to help me. I gave her a tip and proceeded to interrupt again because I needed a printed boarding pass she previously did not give to me! Catching my breath, I trotted up to the line and presented my newly printed pass—I didn’t pass GO or collect $200!

Finally, I siddled down the jetway and toward the rear of the plane eyeing an aisle seat. Got it! Happy to land in the seat. I was going to make it after all the commotion. Consider the assigned shuttle at the destination end that would’ve been missed with service only to 10 p.m., no car, no one to pick me up. Engines roar and the captain apologetically said there is a short delay—an hour and a half latter, we were cleared for departure! Finally, I was going home.

The flight was pleasant and happily, we landed safely. Off to baggage claim . . . to find my bag didn’t make the flight! No where to be seen. I called my shuttle guy and he was waiting for me and off I went with only my purse and a gift bag in hand.

So what is the point of this fairy tale? 

  • The behavior of the players made a difference in my experience. Heckel and Jeckel at the curbside were defeatists and never offered to check conditions at security or if my original flight was delayed. They put my bag on the wrong plane and were very unfriendly. 
  • Salma made up for it. She was pleasant and optimistic that we needed to check out the first flight because flights were delayed. 
  • The gate agent was obnoxious and didn’t help anything because she didn’t ask the right questions (she wasn’t even curious or caring) to resolve the issue about my boarding pass—instead she pushed me away to wait in another line to ultimately be sent back to her!
  • The shuttle driver went the extra mile and continuously checked the flight status and waited for me. We had a chatty, pleasant 40 minute ride to the lot to pick up my car.

So, what is your customer-centric strategy, to serve as your best self, and how have your prepped your team to do the same? Send in your ideas here, or leave a comment. With your permission, I can publish them here. -MC

Action plan, career, coaching, Creative, entrepreneurs, Marketing, Strategic Planning, Visionary, Wisdom

Is entrepreneurism a gene or skill?

So, what if you aren’t born with the entrepreneurial qualities?

Recent findings and emphasis on personal development show that people can learn an entrepreneur’s (E’s) progressive traits and can borrow on E’s native talents.

There are several entrepreneur types that bring different strengths and experience while they learn new skills. This is a list of Positive Potentials LLC’s2 observations from serving E’s across two decades of business coaching:

1.    The Widget Maker—This type is often mistaken as a classic entrepreneur. These proud, diligent people are adept at doing one thing well—making widgets—Widgets are products and methods that can range from baking cookies to custom car production. The outcome is something they have perfected and want to take to market—They want to reproduce it and sell it. Although they may have no real business sense or experience, they forge ahead, often without a business plan, and launch their idea until they run out of money or personal energy.
Another E in this category is the Episodic E, who may be, for example, a car mechanic.  S/He sees an opportunity to work on windmill turbines and opens a “green” shop or a former shoe sales person starts a boutique. They work on what they know within a comfort zone. Sometimes, they have little awareness of the moving parts of a business because they only focused on their part in it. These E’s must add business skills and hire talent especially if migrating from a non-business field like a mechanical environment.
They are comfortable and adept with their skills, limited by what they know, but may not take time or fear advanced training so they move from one episode to another as part of a long learning curve. Their shops can be chaotic and may waste resources, because they do not have a plan or marketing skills. For example, lawyers and doctors are historically inexperienced business people.
2.    The Innovator—This E likes to tinker. These are not people who want to open a storefront; they want to “build a better mousetrap.”  Often, they will consider selling their idea to Wal-Mart, but do not know how to protect and secure their idea with registered patents or how to attract investors.
They are focused on continuous improvement often coming from a manufacturing or systems background. They believe “necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention,” and use their creativity to solve problems. They are creative people because they see and love how things work.
3.    You’re Fired —This is the reluctant E. Today’s uncertain economic and job climate can create this type of entrepreneur, because they may not have chosen to leave but they were downsized. They gather severance, savings and gumption in an attempt to duplicate the job they just lost.
Their perspective is limited because they only see a tiny part of the working business. This E requires support people to draft a written business map to keep the E on course and add talent to fill in the gaps.
4.    The Last Hurrah—”If not now, then when” logic? Often a mid-life crisis triggers this E, who is restless and sees a last shot at a long-held dream. For example, in the 1990’s, while the economy was stable, “40-Somethings” saw an opportunity to use their 401k’s to start a business if they resigned.  For example, independent coffee houses and bookstores popped up nationwide from these E’s efforts. They may have had access to other resources through their professional networks, too. The Boomers are classical examples of this type. After the economic downturn, many Boomers found themselves unable to retire, so they are back in the job market and ready to pour their energy into a new enterprise.
5.    Buy A Job/Be Your Own boss—This E is slow to action and can be motivated by fear or external pressure, and a “I’d-better-do-something” attitude. These are ideal franchise prospects or owners. They like a template business model. It appeals to those who want order for security, not creativity. They want the illusion of being their own boss, but, in reality, they are bound by the franchisers rules with little flexibility to improvise.

They may hire people to organize offices and billing issues so they do not get bogged down with the details. The good news for them is they can better manage their process adopting E traits. Learning offers them a better degree of competence to check the work of others they hired without being an entrepreneur.
These visionary E’s hold and share a strong mental picture that s/he translates into the support of followers. Their persuasive communication style serves them to sell the dream born out of their passion. An example of this “charismatic selling” is the rise of multi-level marketing companies since 1990 that hype success with images of wealth, fancy cars and exotic travel as payoffs. One must ask what they are really selling.
Importantly, people serving entrepreneurs are wise to understand them and can benefit by teaching them how to marketing, deliver services and hire a lawyer. Service providers who help their E’s achieve their visions, have no loyalty issues, especially when times are tough.
Tip—Identify where the gaps are in your process to start a business. Find support to complete the gaps and write out your plan. The magic begins when you can visualize the outcome and know what resources you need to get started.
A positive first step is to seek out the free programs like at Glendale Public Library for more information www.GlendaleAZ.com/library. Good luck. -MC


·  Kauffman Foundation       www. KauffmanFoundation.com
·  Malcolm Baldrige Quality Principles— http://www.nist.gov/index.html

·  Entrepreneurship.org,      The Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship (PDE)

·  The Phoenix Business Journal, www.bizjournals.com

·  Coaching Programs          EMBA (Entrepreneurial Mastery of Business Assets)

·  ASU Technopolis

·  Positive Potentials’            EMBA Certification Program™

·  Fast Track                        Stealthmode Partners

1 Michael Gerber, The E Myth Revisited, (New York, 1995), pp.19-33.

2 Michelle Cubas, Positive Potentials LLC, https://www.positivepotentials.com, All Rights Reserved, 2000.

Behavior, business coaching, change, Creative, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, entrepreneurs, Performance, Visionary

What Better Time To Be Contrarian?

Call it what you will. It cycles around every decade. AKA innovative, creative, progressive—it means you are different. Isn’t that the intention of marketing and earning top-of-mind share?

In my business coaching practice, I am ever amazed at what little people understand about the art of running a business. My favorites, the “Widget Makers,” are darned good at what they know. BUT, they are limited by that same trait. They can borrow on a bit of the vision they pour into their wares.

Being contrarian can make people feel uncomfortable because they are heading into new terrain. Isn’t that what innovation really is? Fear of failure is the biggest obstacle people face for a variety of reasons:
1. Don’t want to own the idea. (Consider classical comedic set-up when someone is about to be scolded and it turns into a promotion!)
2. Affects budget allocation next time ’round.
3. Appears not to know what was doing.
4. All of the above and more . . .

If other similar businesses have already blazed a trail, why would someone want to tread the same path? Safety in the “me-too” mindset. Then, the so-called leader can claim they weren’t responsible. It’s a convoluted way of working. Consider the inertia of U.S. Congress.

Own the idea
Put your name all over it. Seth Godin agrees with me on this. Once you own it, your more likely to attract champions to the idea. If it is so appealing, others will want to ‘steal’ it and make it their own. Good; let them. After all, innovation isn’t about our name in lights; it’s about falling forward. They will improve it so it looks like their idea!

Tom Edison Had It Right
When asked how he continued to experiment with the light bulb after so many disappointments, Edison (I paraphrase) replied, “I found 999 ways that didn’t work.”

The Secret Sauce
To put yourself into an innovative place, you only need one ingredient—curiosity. It is so powerful because it keeps you objective. Curiosity engages you and your audience.

Your Assignment
1. Write down how many ways you offer curiosity as a “pull” toward your company offerings.
2. Consider your web and ad copy, presentations and personal interactions.
3. Think crayons, paste and paper. Remember how much fun that was in art class?

4. Ask about my Legos and Leadership™ Program for up tight, Type A people ;-).
5. Paint something with your fingers. What does it “say” to you?

This can be the beginning of an exhilarating experience and can spice up your relationships, too. Let me know how it goes.
Your Coach, MC
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