Sunday, September 26, 2010


Recently I received a call from someone who wanted to take her program on the road. She wanted my advice on how to proceed and how to take her business to the next level.

After asking a few questions, it was clear that while she’d had a lot of interest in her program from other cities, she needed to spend some time documenting what she did; thinking about the guidelines and parameters under which the program would work in other cities and build in some processes to ensure that the people or organizations she recruited would be true to the essence of her program.

I cautioned her about leaping in and trying to expand too quickly, especially if she didn’t have the staffing or programs in place to manage the growth. My suggestion was that she tried a pilot program, perhaps close to her base, so she could monitor what was happening and learn from that experience before embarking on a full-blown expansion.

As a community developer, I’ve often found that what works in one community, may not work in another and it is important to tailor your offerings to suit the local group. So I suggested that she might also want to think about what was a must-have, and what could be left to the discretion of the community.

So often we feel flattered and pressured when other groups express interest in having your program or service in their community. It is easy to get seduced into growing before you are ready.

Like any business expansion, there needs to be homework done to ensure that all the pieces are in place, not just one enthusiastic fan who could disappear just as fast she appeared, leaving you holding the baby.

Monday, September 20, 2010


What a week. Especially on Monday. It seemed like Friday the 13th not Monday the 13th. Now I knew going into the week that it would be hectic, we had a lot on, but did not allow for how so many things could go wrong, and as a result delay everything.

First our Wednesday speaker emailed to say she was stuck in Tel Aviv and might not make it back in time. Decision time. Do we cancel now or run the risk of a no-show speaker? We cancelled which meant phone calls to all registered, refunds, etc…

One of the computers is out of commission but a quick call to our tech guy, and we are back in business. The next issue of the magazine arrives – great – it is one day early and now we can ship it out. No. The website at the courier service we use is down – all day.

You get the picture I am sure. I went to check my horoscope thinking it might give me a clue – I mean - perhaps in astrology-speak mercury was in retrograde or something, but it’s not that relevant. The next day, I decide early on to read my horoscope, hoping it would shed some light on the day ahead. Guess what – same wording.

That’s strange I thought and then I see it – at the bottom of the page. The Globe and Mail was apologizing because they’d printed Tuesday’s horoscopes on Monday. Good to know. Guess we weren’t the only ones having a bad day.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Do you have any irrational fears? This week I tackled a couple of mine head-on. I have never been a comfortable driver, although I will say with the move to the farm and my daily treks on the 401, I am getting better, but driving long distances is still not in my comfort zone, especially if I don’t know where I am going.

Then there’s public speaking, which many put pretty close to death on the fear scale. It has certainly been one of mine for years. Even in high school I would go to ridiculous lengths to avoid having to speak in front of a group of people, especially my peers.

I’ll admit Company of Women has helped me gain more confidence in this arena but I would never put myself out there as a public speaker, yet after this week – maybe I can.

I was invited to be the keynote speaker at the launch of the Peterborough Women’s Business Network 50 year celebration. I agreed – but as I was driving there on Wednesday I realized I was tackling two fears for the price of one. Driving and public speaking – all in one day – what was I thinking!

Well I got there and back in one piece without any incident – not sure what I would do without my GPS and as for the speech – I blew myself away – I didn’t even look at my notes and just talked for 45 minutes. As one person commented, this may have been the launch of my speaking career – but who knew. And the other neat part – I actually enjoyed it.

So never say never, because you could prove yourself wrong.

Monday, September 06, 2010


I learned an important lesson this week. No matter how competent and professional people are, they still need to be told they are doing a good job.

As my way to say thank you to the writers for our magazine, Company, I hosted a luncheon in my home. This is actually an annual event in the summer, and my way of acknowledging their contribution to the success of the magazine.

However, as our discussion evolved, it became clear that writing makes us feel vulnerable because when your work is published, you really are putting yourself out there and leaving yourself open to criticism or negative comment.

And so the women were anxious to know if they were doing OK. I was surprised – because to my mind, if they weren’t doing OK – they’d be hearing from me or wouldn’t be writing for us anymore. What I’d forgotten is everyone needs to be validated; to know that they are on the right track and their efforts are appreciated.

So note to self – be more generous with the praise and positive feedback, because no matter who you are – hearing you are doing well, matters.