headshotsEnter [what’s been on my mind]

Much of last week’s media focused on Lance Armstrong and Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o, and on more than one occasion I heard reporters ask, “Is America able to forgive and forget?”

Blink [see a new perspective]

There is no weakness is forgiveness.  More often than not, it is the strong who are able to forgive and the weak choose to remain resentful.  In regards whether or not America can forgive Lance and Manti, I think the answer should be and has to be “yes.”  While the truth of the matter is that Lance and Manti both got caught in lies, there is another truth present: I am a liar, too.

Don’t get me wrong, I try to be honest.  Honesty and trust are two things that I not only value in others, but also in myself.  But there are times when I have been caught in a half-truth (which is just another way to say “lie”) which I explain away saying “Oh, that was just a little white lie.”

Lance and Manti are liars.  So am I.  And if America is honest (since we are discovering that the truth will come out eventually), then we all have to admit that at some point in our lives, each and every one of us has told a “Lance.”  Or told a “Manti.”  In other words, we have told a lie.  We may console ourselves by saying our half-truths aren’t anywhere near as severe as the lies exposed last week, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to line-up lies on a sliding scale of comparison.

In resonating with Lance and Manti, it makes it a bit easier to offer them forgiveness.

Shift [try it out]

But while I argue for forgiving Lance and Manti, a part of me has a hard time with the statement “forgive and forget.”  In some circumstances, forgiveness is cheapened when it is paired with forgetfulness.

What if the If the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency forgave Lance Armstrong and decided to dismiss and forget about his years of drug use?  Pairing forgiveness, alongside the USADA’s ruling that Lance ran “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program the sport has ever seen” (source), with forgetfulness would undermine the existence of their organization, as well as open the door for other athletes to do the same.

Forgiveness means getting to a point where you can wish the other person well, but it does not necessarily mean that you completely forget their indiscretion.  Moving through the steps of forgiveness can cause a relationship to change – sometimes you part ways, but sometimes the relationship is strengthened for the better.

Listen [hear from our community]

We are all flawed, in some way or another.  Some mistakes and missteps are bigger than others, and our ability after the fact to do or recognize the right thing and course-correct isn’t a cut-and-dry decision either.  It’s hard to see things from another’s unique point of view, and even more difficult to know that our perspective on their actions is, itself, correct or even appropriate.  Best thing I can think to do is stay true to what I believe, understand and stick to my values, and learn from what I see around me (including experiences from other flawed people) to constantly try to make myself better.

-Matt Heinz, President of Heniz Marketing Inc

Enter [what’s been on my mind]

messy-desk1Does this ever happen to you?  You’re about to start a new task, and you realize you cannot begin until you either

    a) throw away the collection of empty Starbucks cups,
    b) clear away the mound of papers collecting on your desk,
    c) try out a new organizational strategy (apparently the current one is not working), or
    d) all of the above.

For some reason, organization and my [think]space are correlated because in the midst of unorganized chaos, I have a hard time getting any work done.

Blink [see a new perspective]

Maybe I’m not alone in my multiple choice dilemma.

And maybe the best solution isn’t found in either a, b, c, or d.

Your work environment directly affects your productivity, therefore the status of your [think]space should be taken seriously.

Shift [try it out]

It’s not too late to still start off the new year in a more efficient and organized way.  Resources are literally clicks away and readily available to help people like me (and possibly people like you). Innovatively Organized is local productivity consulting firm, and they just happen to specialize in this very topic.  After checking out their website, I already feel inspired and equipped with checklists, innovative ideas to manage my desk space, and ways to handle digital clutter.

Listen [hear from our community]

Coming up next week Wednesday, we have the opportunity to hear from the CEO of Innovatively Organized, Elizabeth Bowman, at one of our Brown Bag Lunch Events.  The event is called Maximize the Potential: Quick Tips to Organize Your Cubical or Small Office, and it will provide helpful hints on how to maximize your desk space and storage.  For more information and to register for this event, click here.


airplane-the-movie-excessive-sweatingBased on percentages, more people get accepted into Harvard and Stanford than people who seek angel funding investment. The acceptance rates at Harvard and Stanford are 6.3% and 7.1% respectively. Source: USNews

Brian Brewer states that 60,000 companies are funded by angel investors each each year. While that may sound like a lot of companies, it’s not. I just read an article in Business Week from 2010 that states only 2.8% of those seeking money actually get it. Doing that quick math, that means approximately 2.1 million companies seek funding from angels. The article also states that only 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent get funded from venture capital firms. So if you’re looking for angel funding, what are you going to do to stand out?

What’s it take?

When I think about what it takes to get into the top level of anything, it’s about total commitment, planning, dedication, and whether you like it or not your experience both personal and professional that people are evaluating to see if you have the guts to weather the challenge. At the top, it’s an incredible challenge and the environment is not always friendly. The weak do not survive and even the strong one’s have poor survival rates.

What do you think it takes to survive and be successful? I think it requires prior experience where you’ve shown serious conviction and unflappable determination. The business idea that you come up with is important but that will likely shift, change, and evolve. When that happens, what were the angel investors putting their money on? Three letters: You.

Event at thinkspace tonight: Is Angel Funding Is Right For You? With speaker Brian Brewer.

seahawks victory source komo news

Image Source: KOMO News

This post is about the Seahawk’s versus Redskins playoff game and why it was amazing. The Seahawks faced off with the Redskins but in the very first quarter the Seahawks found themselves down 0 – 14, held scoreless in the first quarter with no apparent chance of winning.

Seattle’s defense just couldn’t stop the Redskins, nor could their offense move the ball leaving the Redskins to totally dominate the field. But in the second, third and fourth quarters, the Seahawks pulled out their magic to  turn the game around, preventing the Redskins from scoring and eventually winning the game 24-14.

When I see that level of play, I have to ask myself what happened. Just how did this team go from zero to fourteen to win the playoff, especially at an away game where the Seahawks have been known to be at a disadvantage?

Pure skill leads Seattle Seahawks to victory

One of the aspects of this particular game that made it remarkable was the fact that the win wasn’t the result of mere luck. They rightfully won because of pure skill and their ability to pull together to become the better team.

Seattle didn’t enjoy a lucky fumble or a sudden runback to touchdown. Neither did the winners benefit from injury to the opposing team that might have taken one of their star players off the field. It really wasn’t luck that lead the Seahawks to victory, but that the Seahawks simply proved themselves to the superior players.

Leadership by Coaches & Players

Another noteworthy aspect of the Seahawk win was the evidence of leadership both on and off the field. Finding your team down 14-0 in foreign territory can quickly break your momentum and make it almost impossible for your team to function effectively.

In order to come back from a deficit like that, clear leadership has to be in charge, not only of the defense and offense, but of the entire coaching staff. If the team hadn’t been confident from the top down in their ability to overcome, they would have never been able to come from behind to win the game.

Play callers adapted their strategy

The Seahawk’s ability to respond in real time, and adapt their game strategy accordingly, proved to be a major contribution to their strong play and eventual victory. At the outset, seemingly none of their game plans worked as intended.

Their offensive strategies didn’t work and their defensive strategies were no better. Thinking of the players on the field as chess pieces, you understand that their job is to be moved and to follow the instructions given by the coaches. So when Seattle found themselves down by 14, the play makers and coaches had to identify not only what was wrong but how to fix it.

It’s fair to say that  the coaches’ clear ability to adapt their game strategy eventually lead the team to victory. Of course, that was only possible because the players respected the coaches enough to listen to them rather than take matters into their own hands. That was evidence of teamwork at its finest, a quality that any Super Bowl bound team should have.

What really made this game enjoyable to watch was the level of sportsmanship at work; the entire team functioning as one in order to overcome a 14-0 deficit and dominate the rest of the game, advancing the Seahawks to the next round.

What  can a business leader learn from this victory?

Seeing these qualities and noticing what contributed to this win makes me want to compare this game to winning in business. In the world of business and entrepreneurship, how does the Seahawk’s success compare to how we function as business owners? You can imagine that being 0-14 in the first quarter of a playoff game would be comparable to trying to make a $40k payroll in seven days, fully knowing that you’re $20k short with no obvious solution in sight. It’s the same gut feeling as having to ask yourself “What am I going to do if I can’t pay my employees?”

Generating new revenue

In such a case, in order to pull yourself out of that apparent defeat, you might have to rally your sales force and back them with the full support of your entire team; providing leadership to do what appears to be impossible without demoralizing your entire office by telling your staff that you’re having difficulty making payroll.

Close open projects

Instead of making more sales, it may prove simpler to increase your cash flow by completing open projects or stepping up efforts to collect on accounts receivable. In order to execute that you may have coordinate between your accounting and operations staff to reach your goal. Close communication with your employees can be instrumental to everyone contributing their best efforts, even beyond the usual scope of their job descriptions.

Investor Relations

One final solution to make payroll possible would be to speak with your bank or the investors in your company who have a clear and vested interest in the stability of your workforce and the company at large. Key stakeholders may be able to help you source the necessary funds that would help get you over that hump if they’re willing to act from a long-term perspective.

No matter how you look at it, whether you consider the Seahawk’s victory or this business scenario, the key takeaway here is your ability to remain grounded despite your impulse to panic when you’re staring defeat squarely in the eye. Maintain your ability to visualize the win by understanding that you’ve build the team and have your team around you to support your mutual goals. Together you can shift impossibility to reality by never losing sight of what you’ve set out to accomplish.

Enter [what’s been on my mind]

As much as I love working from home (on my couch…in my pajamas…), I must admit that when I’m at the office, I’m much more alert and effective.

Blink [see a new perspective]

The article Snack Laundry Lunch Clean Snack reveals a survey with disturbing results: what employees confess they are actually doing while they work from home.  For example, “43 percent of workers say they’ve watched TV or a movie while ‘working’ remotely, while 35 percent have done household chores, and 28 percent have cooked dinner.”  When I work from home, I find that my taste buds are uncharacteristically high-maintenance:  This iced coffee sure sounded good 10 minutes ago, but now I want a hot earl grey tea…and wouldn’t some toasted almonds be a great pick-me-up?…perhaps with a bit of dark chocolate…Is it lunch time yet?…I should probably start something on the stove right now…and take out that chicken to thaw for dinner…

It’s amazing how much time I spend in the kitchen when I work from home.

Shift [try it out]

If you must work from home, establish some boundaries.  Turn the television off, designate your lunch break, clarify when you’re on the clock versus off the clock, and finally – don’t work in your pajamas.  You probably won’t just lie down for a second when you’re in heels and a skirt (or a suit and tie).  But when you wear pajamas, you’re halfway to a nap.

Listen [hear from our community]

At Innovatively Organized, we not only work with busy entrepreneurs who work from home, but my team and I work from our home offices as well.  It certainly takes discipline to set boundaries around your time in order to stay productive when you work from home.  Just because you have a home office, doesn’t mean you should be watching television or doing laundry during the day.  It’s important to set up your home office to operate efficiently and feel welcoming.  This helps you avoid sitting on the couch with a laptop where it’s easy to get distracted.  Also, I’ve found it is important to set expectations and have open communication with family members when you work from home.  If you aren’t used to it yet, the lines can blur easily.”  –Elizabeth Bowman, President & Founder of Innovatively Organized

Innovatively Organized is also hosting an event tomorrow that will give tips for mobile professionals – find out more here.