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Archive for the tag “small gestures;”

Do you ever wonder if you do enough volunteering?


Do you ever wonder if you do enough volunteering? 

Photo credit: Ralf Weiser

Volunteering at its best makes everyone better off – especially if you do not expect anything back in return. It makes a positive difference for others, it makes you feel great, and it helps build a better and greater sense of community. Here are a few tell tale signs that could help you decide if you may be not spending enough time on it.

  • You find yourself spending time only on yourself and maybe only on and with your significant other.
  • Your house looks spic and span clean inside out and there is not one bit of clutter anywhere.
  • You find yourself at the bar or club almost every opportunity that presents itself.
  • Your friends and acquaintances have not changes in years.
  • Your social media posts mainly focus on minute-by-minute details of what happened to you during the day.
  • You look at your bank and credit card accounts and you notice that you only spent money on yourself.
  • At the end of the day you look back and you cannot recall having done one selfless thing for another human being.

Especially this Easter holiday is a vivid and humble reminder thinking of Jesus who above all gave everything for us. Please spend a little love, time, and money on your fellow man and woman – it does not take much making a huge difference in other people’s lives.

Ralf

8 key characteristics of great conscious leaders


8 key characteristics of great conscious leaders 

Entrepreneurship and leadership are fun, but they also can be a huge challenge. How do you grow your business in a way that is long term sustainable whilst also rendering enough profits such that you can invest in your people and infrastructure? How do you do this without totally giving your own life up because you have to work exorbitant hours? How will your family see you again and how will you manage stress to a manageable level?

Chances are that you have asked yourself these questions over and over again. Regardless whether you are the key leader in a small business or are the CEO of a large corporation the questions are typically very similar. Fortunately, the answers are amazingly simple as well. Key question here is only how comfortable you are to commit yourself to opening your organization up to an open platform. The more you are ready to open up to true collaboration the greater the chance that you will soon enjoy your co-leaders and employees becoming your co-entrepreneurs.

What I am inferring here is that you have the opportunity developing your own brand that can become self-sustainable. This allows you to focus on planning the future development of your organization without you having to worry about that the day-to-day operation goes awry without you being there. It helps reducing your stress and that of everyone in your organization.

  1. Start with a quality product of service: Absolute important is having a quality product and/ or service to start with. Do not get this wrong and mixed up with clever or really unique. Excellent execution of what you have to offer to customers is essential in making sure that there is long term sustainability for your organization.
  2. Ego management: Skip this blog if you are not willing to of your ego. Long term sustainability can only happen when you as the leader are willing to not be the only one who speaks, directs, manages, generates ideas, etc. Egomaniacs make for miserable working conditions and no one needs another toxic work place.
  3. Safe working place: This is more than the physical safety at work. I am speaking about candor. Candor is the best antidote to your ego and that of others. Only when it is safe to speak about your company’s challenges will you get to the bottom of what your folks will need to fix.
  4. Communication management: Great conscious leaders make a huge commitment to open communication. Department meetings held regularly and also allowing for your managers meeting with their team members one on one regularly will provide ample information about where and how your organization and people need help. If you are really good, you will hold weekly company meetings where everybody can get a pulse of the organization and where their contributions make a difference.
  5. Collaboration heaven: Collaboration amongst your leadership team is just as important as allowing for this to happen with your customers and all of your employees. How else can you tap into the brain power and creativity of the people who do the front line work every day? Create a conduit and place where this information exchange can happen at strategic and tactical level, step back, and be ready to be amazed what your folks can help create.
  6. Servitude: This point of course assumes that you have made it beyond point 2. above. Really great leaders realize that they need to view their role as the one who serves the folks who work for them. That does not means that leaders must do the work of the people reporting to them. What is more important than anything else here is that the team members feel respected, are taking seriously, and that their contributions count. Helping develop your employees by helping them excel increases the trust in you and the company and makes for very loyal followers – team members and customers alike.
  7. Showing up: Great leaders have another thing in common. They keep showing up for not only the fun stuff, but especially for any of the tough occasions too.
  8. Commitment management: First and foremost that is your commitment to invest all your efforts to make the changes happening that your team members helped develop. That fosters even more trust and ensures your organization making a lot of progress. Once your team knows that when they come together and help co-create their future with you and you deliver the commitment allowing for continual improvement to occur, you will enjoy success almost guaranteed.

This is not an easy road to travel and definitely not a fast one. It represents a cultural change and those typically take a few years to fully come around to full fruition. If you expect your people to change, make sure asking yourself first how you must change. Invite your team members – and I mean all of them – to help collaborate about if and how / what kind of changes need to be made in order to serve your organization’s purpose (your “why”). Then leave them be, check your ego at the front door and be ready to be amazed how many people step forward with the desire helping to achieve your growth goals.

Ralf Weiser

The power of a small gesture can take your breath away


The power of a small gesture can take your breath away cup

In the above picture I am holding a convenience store coffee cup that I am sure just about all of you are familiar with. It cannot cost possible more than one Cent or two but to me it is a priceless item that makes me smile every morning that I have time getting myself another one. Sometimes you do not realize how a small gesture of yours can mean so much to the one receiving it, that you may end up getting much more back than you ever invested.

My mom used to visit us from Germany over the summer or the fall and she used to get a royal kick out of getting a coffee in such a paper cup. She giggled like a school girl when she noticed the travel lids that would allow you to travel without spilling the beverage and yet also allowed you to drink it without dribbling all over yourself. I had forgotten about this little cup up until in early 2005 just about a couple of months prior to her way to early death due to esophageal cancer. By that time she had been on chemo and radiation treatments and I had been slated to travel to Germany to visit her in the hospital again. She asked me if I could bring a coffee cup over so. She did not say for what reason, but I gladly complied.

My sister and her children and I went to visit mom at the hospital right away. Once we got our initial “hellos” out of the way, we went to the cafeteria and that is where I handed her the little Wawa coffee cup. Mom was so overwhelmed with joy that she nearly hugged the stuffing out of me. I had a hard time keeping myself together, but from that moment I could never look at these cups the same way again: This thing meant the world to her as it reminded her of all the great times we had had in the States and for a brief moment in time her life was wonderful and whole again. In the end mom may have lost her battle with cancer back in June of 2005, but thanks to a little cup she is right there with me. Thus the adage of how loved ones never truly leave holds true.

I would like to inspire you to extend small gestures to others wherever and whenever you can. Make sure that you do not desire to get anything back in return and then just watch what happens. You never know when you are making someone’s day much brighter than way. I can make more than your day as well.

Ralf

Mike Rowe working smart not hard – making a case for a Dept Free Degree


Mike Rowe working smart not hard – making a case for a Dept Free Degree Ralf a

If you have kids in middle and high school you really ought to watch Mike Rowe’s interview about working smart not hard. I am sure you know who he is. He has been a staple on TV as the host of the show “Dirty Jobs”. Here is the link to this interview (click here). It is worth every minute of it.

So what is this fuss all about? It is simply this: Quite contrary to his TV show most manufacturing jobs out there today are the opposite to how people used to think of such careers. Jobs that were marginalized have left the country – and they will not be back anytime soon. However, manufacturing jobs requiring critical thinking, creativity, self-directed working, etc have started to come back on shore. The vast majority of work places are well lit and clean. It is quite the contrast to what they used to look like before the 1990s. In fact there is a shortage of such folks industry wide.

Most of us parents and subsequently our children typically want for them to attend college. There are a few wrinkles with this goal. For one, who does not know folks who started out with one major just to change it along the way because it was a better fit. Then there are quite a few students who drop out completely. Finally, there are many of them who find themselves having earned a degree just to find themselves without a job and much less a career. I am not advocating that folks abandon going to college plans. I am just trying to make the case for looking at more options available to children today.

Bottom line is that the children and parents can end up with quite a bit of debt and still not have a suitable and rewarding career. How about a career in manufacturing? Most jobs are high tech and many organizations offer a learn-and-earn program. Here the student may go through a coop or apprenticeship program while even in high school. Once the student graduate from high school they could migrate over to a full time job. Eventually with help of the manufacturer and entities such as local manufacturing alliances (e.g. this one MA of Chester and Delaware Counties) a college degree is pursued and earned; that is a concept that is taking shape in South Eastern PA called Debt Free Degree.

The biggest benefit is that the student can flourish in a long term sustainable career, obtain a college degree AND earn money – instead of going into debt.

Would that not be working smart? Check it out.

Ralf

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