Category Archives: Networking

3 Tips to Build Referrals

It’s not hard to build a referral-base business if you are strategic about what you want for your business and how best to use your time and energy. Having your previous clients continue to buy from you and to refer to you is a very cost-effective way to grow your company.

Research shows that the average business owner spends about 30% of their time trying to engage new clients but the person working primarily from referrals spends about 5% of their time. So let’s get smarter about this so we all can enjoy the phone ringing with requests for our services. Here are three strategies I have found particularly helpful over the years. They work!

  1. Identify your most valued “referral partners”. Who is out there in your professional network that sings your praises and recommends you often? Nurture those relationships by staying in frequent contact, thanking them personally when they refer and returning the favor by passing on the good word about them and their services when appropriate.
  2. Develop a reputation “personal brand” so you are known as someone who is easy to work with, visible & available, reliable & dependable and most importantly you can be trusted to offer top quality services at a reasonable price.
  3. Ask for a LinkedIn recommendation (2-3 sentences) from clients who are wildly enthusiastic about your work. Get their permission to cut & paste the recommendation into your website using their name or initials, name of company or geographic location.
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Patience in the Rain

Have you ever come across a faithful dog waiting in the rain for its owner to return? We feel sorry for the loyal dog, but the message is a great reminder.  Over the years we work in teams, committees and projects with many, many people.  And as we move around the country or overseas we also live with many other people in different living situations and a variety of communities. If we are wise, we nurture the best of these relationships faithfully.  We know as we continue to grow in our careers we need and want a supportive professional network of friends and colleagues that we can call in the good and bad times.

In short, we share a history together and a mutual respect for our diverse talents, skills, expertise and experiences. So when times get tough and the rain is pouring down, we know that each of us has each other’s back and we can wait in the rain for a bit.  And at the end of the day, that’s all that counts – as well as our faithful four legged friends.

Posted in Communication Tips, Emotional Intelligence, Inspirational Leadership, Navigating Change, Networking, Personal Development, Your Time & Energy | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

To Delegate or Not? A Struggle for Leaders

To delegate or not? Delegation is one of biggest challenges for a leader in today’s work world.  With work loads increasing, more complex problems to solve and fewer staff to cover the bases it’s no surprise that anyone in a leadership role (managers, supervisors, team leads etc.) struggle with the who, what, when, why and how of delegating wisely.

Why is it so hard? 

As a executive coach, this is what I hear from both experienced leaders and emerging leaders in both corporate, government and non-profit business environments.

  • It takes too much time for me to explain it.
  • I’m not sure it will be done right.
  • I could do it faster, easier, cheaper etc.
  • If someone else does it – maybe I’m not needed as much.
  • I don’t want to bother people – they’re already working hard enough.
  • I don’t want to be self-important. (Jimmy Carter carrying his own suitcase)

Getting In Our Own Way

So the bottom line is that we often get in our own way.  Are we a perfectionist? No one else can do it as well as me.  Or do we delegate too much to one person that we trust but then others don’t get a chance. Are we concerned that if the other person does a great job that maybe – just maybe – we will be working our way out of a job.  Or maybe it’s simply the rush we get from being that “go-to” person all the time even if it means working 24/7.

Those are important questions to ask ourselves.  Are we actually the biggest obstacle to ourselves because we can’t get out of our own way?

What does a good role model look like?

Interesting, leaders often mention that they haven’t had a good role model in delegating over the years either from parents, colleagues or bosses.  So in a great round robin discussion these 7 qualities were identified by experienced leaders as critical for a “ideal delegator”.

  • They create a “culture of delegation”.
  • They create a “culture of mutual trust”.
  • They plan ahead so they aren’t “dumping” tasks on others.
  • They delegate “results” not just “activities”.
  • They delegate both important and maintenance tasks as well.
  • They have confidence in their staff and want to utilize their staff’s strengths.
  • They are truly committed to growing & developing their staff.

So how do you measure up? Are you willing to get out of the way and let others grow, develop and succeed?  If so, you will be delightfully surprised how it will help you be more productive, manage your time and energy better and ultimately provide greater benefits to your own company.  And the icing on the cake is less stressLet me know how you are doing!

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Using “We” For Sense of Ownership

It’s such a simple word “We”.  It’s easy to forget the emotional connection this simple word has the power to create.

Savvy leaders know this and they wisely use “we” in their communication with their functional and project teams.  They know that this word shifts people’s mindset from an “I” or “me” mentality to a shared vision and commitment.

Suddenly, there is a sense of ownership.  It’s subtle but the feeling is that we are in this all together – sink or swim – we are connected together and will all share in the success or failure of our efforts.

That’s very powerful.  And it’s simply a shift in language.  But it must be authentic.  The leader must be genuine in their belief that the synergy of highly motivated and committed people is through a sense of ownership.  As we know it truly “takes a village”.


Posted in And a Bit More, Career Tips & Strategies, Communication Tips, Inspirational Leadership, Networking, Your Time & Energy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You a “Go-To” Person?

What a great question!  And if the answer is yes (and I hope it is) then the logical follow-up question is “What do people go to you for?  You may never have thought about it.  The answer may only be one word.  For example, people tell me that they come to me for “energy” or “inspiration”.  Maybe people come to you for your “wisdom” or for your “guidance” in challenging situations.  Or maybe you are in the inside loop and are known for some unique “knowledge” or “expertise/experience”.  It’s different for everyone and you may not even know for certain.

Your “Go-To” Reputation is Part of Your Brand

It’s a important question . . . what do others come to you for?  I always ask this question when working with people around building their career performance and long-term success.  And if they like the answer (which is very important) then we weave it into their personal and career brand so they own it – take control of it. It means that we are being seen as a resource – a valuable resource. We have something to offer relatively quickly and without a great deal of hassle.  We are approachable, easy to get in contact with and can be trusted to listen and provide some help. Now that is a great reputation to have.

Remember!  It doesn’t mean you have all the answers or that you’re going to take on all or even part of the work.  In fact, it’s very important that you don’t see yourself in that role but rather that you have the contacts and the willingness to help connect others with resources. It means that you are a connector – a person in the know.  That is an excellent reputation to have!

Learning from Sheila Leslie, Nevada State Senator

Just yesterday, I had the chance to listen to a wonderful member of the Nevada State Legislature, Sheila Leslie, State Senator, speak about her role in the legislature. In response to a question from the audience, Leslie shared how she mentors and advises newly elected legislators.  And she knows what she’s talking about . . . Leslie has served Northern Nevada since 1998 first as a State Assemblywoman and now as a State Senator. She is very well-respected and best known for her expertise and experience in the health and human services.

So it was no surprise that Leslie’s advice to young legislators is to become a “go-to” person in an area you are interested in; you have some expertise and you are willing to help others.  And that’s exactly what Leslie has done for years. Right out of graduate school, she served in the poorest areas of the Dominican Republic with the Peace Corp; started the first Food Bank in Nevada and worked for years establishing a network of child protective community services. Out of these personal experiences and passion, Leslie has become the valuable “go-to” person on these issues. This is her reputation and a very powerful influential brand. She’s an inspiration to all of us!


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