The Zoomerview: Fido Be Gone

The other day I watched a brilliant CEO deliver an investor meeting interview on Zoom. You know the kind I mean: 20 minutes or so, questions about a product launch, impact to the market, etc. The CEO was well prepared, offering well-crafted sound bites and compelling data and ideas. In contrast, the interviewer asked great questions but his digital body language completely detracted from the segment.


Throughout the conversation, the host was looking everywhere but the camera–and that means everywhere but at this guest. He glanced down to look at his phone, a monitor over his left shoulder (not quite directly behind him, but a huge pivot away from the speaker), and what I presume was himself on the screen.

The impact:  I can only imagine how the CEO felt. She was providing stellar information, and the host was all over the place. As a viewer, I felt empathy for the CEO and annoyed with the host.

The solution: The key to an effective Zoom interview is to demonstrate eye contact as much as possible, just as if you are in person. You must train yourself to look directly at the camera. This takes practice! The natural thing to do is to look at the video of your guest or even of yourself on the screen. Instead, you have to keep others in your peripheral view and focus your eyes on the little red light at the top of your screen.  You don’t have to maintain a blank stare: nod, tilt your head, even glance away momentarily to look at your notes or phone.


Throughout the interview, the host was leaning back in his office chair, rocking and chewing on a pen.

The impact: Viewers were distracted by the host’s movement which took the focus away from the guest. As the CEO was sharing important information about her company’s objectives and how they were tracking to achieve those goals, I found myself wondering if the interview realized he was on camera.

The solution:  Find a comfortable posture that focuses on the conversation. You don’t have to sit stiffly at attention in your chair, but you do need to demonstrate you’re conducting an interview. Monitor your body language to show you take the interview seriously. Pro-tip: One way to create a focused, lean in posture is to stand for a video session.  There are lots of adjustable desks, from self standing models to small desktop stands that can elevate your laptop or camera. Standing makes it feel more like you’re on stage. Aren’t you?


At a key point in the interview, the host’s adorable puppy wandered on screen. Guess what I kept waiting to see for the duration of the interview?

The impact: Viewers can be distracted by what they see in the background. If you want your audience to focus, then don’t give them reasons not to.

The solution: Yes, we all love dogs and cats and babies and clueless delivery persons. But while it might have been funny in the early days of remote working to watch everyone’s home life unfold in front of the camera, an interview does not afford the same informality. Close doors, put up DO NOT DISTURB signs—whatever it takes to keep your space quiet and undisturbed.

Need help preparing for a Zoom interview? Give us a call. We can help you practice to deliver interviews that get you lots of Likes and have your guests asking to come back.

I’ll have my communications with a side of empathy, please

What if employees could “order up” how they liked their engagement? What would they choose? The data below suggest that organizations might want to change up their “menu”:

    • 71% of employees don’t read or engage in company content or emails. Why? Because they get too much information that is not relevant to them.
    • 74% of employees reported in a Gallup survey that they have the feeling they are missing out on important information at work.

For all the efforts that go into internal communications, employees may not be getting what they want or wanting what they get.  How can you serve up communications that inform, inspire, and motivate employees—and help them feel engaged and in-the-know? A good first step is to start with the basics:

    • Know your audience: What do they want to know, which channels do they prefer, how often do they want to receive communications? All of these answers have likely shifted since remote work began in full force last year. Ask yourself what needs to change to meet their needs.
    • Make every word count: if you are communicating in writing, less is more. The more concise and clear communications are, the more likely employees will digest and understand what they are reading.
    • Measure the impact: the best way to know if communications are hitting the mark is to ask. Collect feedback through surveys or anecdotally to get reactions.  Allow employees to rank the usefulness of a communication, provide opportunities to leave comments, or talk with people to gauge reactions.

To capture the minds (and hearts!) of employees, take the extra step to demonstrate EMPATHY in your communications.  The more you acknowledge how they are feeling, and what they are dealing with, the stronger and better received your communications will become.  The last 15 months have been challenging and stressful as employees navigate the brave new work world.  Make sure that every communication comes with a healthy side order of empathy and you will boost the stats in your organization and engage your employees.


The Old-School Tool that Can Help You See the Future

By KDH Consulting Owner: Kelly Donlon Hoy


To devoted users of digital planning tools or apps, you’ll get no quarrel from me. I also like my various trackers and project management resources. They provide me with the ability to input, respond to, and monitor my work at the touch of a button, whether I’m out to dinner or on the soccer field.  In other words, they easily and efficiently keep me on track.

This crazy year, however, I’ve added a new tool that’s totally old school: a huge whiteboard. I’m kind of obsessed and here’s why:

Having a whiteboard is like having a conversation with myself.  It can serve as:


  • A blank canvas to brainstorm new ways to serve clients
  • A daily task list
  • A spot to hold an inspiring quote
  • A quiet reminder of my goals
  • A tracker of my activities
  • A visual cue for my priorities

There is something powerful about standing at the board, dry erase marker in hand. I get great satisfaction writing things, checking them off, and yes, even erasing them.  One of the major reasons I love my whiteboard is its non-permanence. Erasing doesn’t eliminate the work I’ve done. Instead, it allows me to create and recreate, to adapt and evolve. And isn’t that a good description of what work is all about today?

Turn and Face the Strain: the Four Ms of Change Management

Turn and Face the Strain: the Four Ms of Change Management

By: Kelly Donlon Hoy

Major change initiatives in an organization are a huge undertaking  with potentially big payoffs and—surprisingly—low success rates (some stats suggest only about 37% of initiatives are realized fully). The astounding number of articles and case studies about the essentials of change management can overwhelm even the most committed “agents of change.”

Complex systems and frameworks guide companies through the disciplined process of developing a strategic vision to implementing a change—with key arms focused on People, Process and Technology. But not every organization is steeped in these methods or tools—or even in the relatively new discipline of change management.

Where to begin? Mastering the 4Ms– Mindset, Messages, Methods, and Measures—is a great way to start.


M1: Mindset

Change practitioners often refer to Mindset as “change readiness” : Where are employees’ “heads” about a potential change? What will they think and feel about the value of the change or the need for it? If employees are not receptive – or they don’t understand why it’s happening, implementation will be next to impossible. Having the right attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs is the most essential ingredient in any change effort.

Assessing mindset includes thinking about how much employees already have on their plates. For instance, your organization has just been acquired and as a result, employees are acclimating to a new culture,asked to launch  new products, and report to new managers.  Imagine “piling on” another change like a completely new software system. It’s possible that employees just won’t have the bandwidth to embrace one more thing, no matter how critical.

M2: Messages

What helps shift employees’ mindsets? Messages. It’s essential that employees hear a crisp, clear articulation of the change: what it is, why it matters and why now. This applies outside the workplace, too. As humans, we need the right cues and information to jump start and implement change.

Think about it: If you want to improve your health, your commitment will be strengthened by what you see, read, and hear. Maybe an offer to join a gym or a boot camp will spark your interest in moving more. Your family or friends might support you by offering to workout with you. Maybe your physician will point out the need to reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol or improve the impact on your joints by shifting to a healthier diet.  All these data points can help you get into the right mindset to make necessary changes. 

Let’s return to the example of rolling out a new software platform at work. Employees need to know why. Is the current system outdated? Is there a competitive need to upgrade?Is the change driven by new policies or regulations? Explaining and communicating consistently will boost the likelihood that the change will happen successfully.

Tip:  Know which “channels” are most effective within your organization.  Some companies message from the topthrough CEO announcements, town halls, or company-wide emails. Others find a more “local” approach, with front line managers explaining upcoming changes, to be most effective.  For larger changes, it’s likely that all channels will be used to create  cohesive, consistent messaging.


M3: Methods

Saying you’re going to change and actually doing it are two different things. Part of your message has to be about the “how”—what’s the plan and timing for the change? Employees will appreciate having the approach mapped out. A high level “roadmap” marked with key deliverables and milestones is a good way to provide a snapshot of what’s to come. Major milestones can be celebrated to further motivate and inspire the organization through the change.

“Methods” can often require in-depth project planning. If your organization uses planning tools for other routine operations, they may be repurposed for a change initiative. If not, you can choose from many options –and even experts—to assist with mapping out your approach. This doesn’t have to be overly complicated but should include milestones, a way to address issues and resolve problems, and a communication plan to keep the organization informed.

M4: Measures

Tracking your progress keeps you headed in the right direction, at home and at work. Be aware, challenges or delays are an expected part of the process–but a setback doesn’t mean failure. When you’re simultaneously shifting people, processes, and technology, one or all 3 of these components may hit a temporary impasse.  A quick—or not so quick—pause for analysis and problem identification can help you navigate toward a solution and get right back on track.

Pick measures that matter to your project. You can count how many team meetings you had or how many edits someone made to a communication, but those won’t get you closer to a successful outcome.  Carefully select the indicators that tell you the project is on track (or not), and make sure the entire team is aware of those metrics and who is accountable for them.


Looking for an experienced partner to map out the next change at your workplace? KDH can help!

Contact us at :

How To Start a Job Remotely During Coronavirus: Reflections of a New Employee

By Rachel Robinson

In this post, we say goodbye and good luck to our fabulous Social Media Coordinator, Rachel Robinson. Even as she takes on a new job, she’s still teeing up great content for us here at KDH Consulting. Read on about her experience starting her new role remotely. Hiring managers and companies take note: the experience you create with new remote hires can be an opportunity!

You may not know me personally, but you have read my blog posts, seen my Instagram photos, and had my newsletters hit your inbox over the last 2 years as I served as the social media manager for the KDH Consulting Team. I have always worked remote jobs because the digital space does not always require a physical meeting room. But what happens when the job is supposed to be in a physical space and you’re in the middle of a pandemic? Then what? Learn how I made sure to stay excited, not isolated, despite being completely remote.

Pivot has become the word of 2020, and recently I did exactly that as I transitioned into a new full-time job role in finance. But unlike most new hires, who show up to their first day often with a new outfit, new haircut, and a whole group of other new hires, this time, I was in my PJs and  my training took place on my kitchen counter. Navigating a completely new role, new team, and  new challenges while alone in my tiny city apartment has come with its challenges. But I have learned a few tricks to pivot into success through the world of remote onboarding, training, & working. 

Take Walks

This tip isn’t just for new hires–it’s good for every remote worker to keep in mind. Schedule yourself 10-15 minute breaks in your day to leave your workspace, head outside, & take a walk. This will not only reset your mind but moving your body will wake up your brain to keep you productive and help to avoid the midday slump.

Find a Mentor 

This is critical for new hires: you want to find a mentor quickly.  We do not have coworkers working next to us anymore to just ask a question in passing. So it’s important to identify someone you can turn to. Pick someone you trust to go to when you have questions or are unsure about processes in your new role.  If you haven’t been able to find someone, ask your hiring manager or supervisor to set you up. This “phone-a-friend” is your go-to for questions, concerns, and everything in between. My mentor and I slack all day long, and I would not have climbed the learning curve as fast as I have without his wisdom! 

Write it Down

Circling back to the reality that questions can no longer be asked on the fly, you will find yourself having to go out of your way to ask them.  When you do find answers, write them down so you never have to repeat it. This will save you time, effort, and stress in the long run. Not to mention earns the respect of the people you’re asking.  Personally, the sticky notes app on my computer is where I save all SOPs, random questions, phone numbers, and anything I feel I may need to reference again.

Make The Extra Effort

Working remotely means you will not meet your work best friend in the break room or find a group of coworkers to chat with at lunch, but it does not mean you should be isolated during the workday. If you are starting a new job with a group of new hires, go out of your way to get to know them. Make the extra effort on calls to ask how their day is going or ask about their pets or kids if they mentioned it in an icebreaker. Creating these relationships will create a connection in the workplace despite not physically being with one another, making the day a bit more enjoyable from the comfort of your own home. 

With anything, go in with confidence and enjoy this new opportunity! There are so many exciting benefits of working from home and with a few pointers along the way, you are guaranteed success!

Work and Home: the new Cauldron of Chaos: Three tips to help you and your employees survive

By Guest Blogger Rebecca Korsen

Life as we know it is constantly changing, and with COVID-19, these changes have become downright disruptive. In this new “normal,” many employees are confined to working at home, alongside other members of their household. And while remote work has been underway for almost 6 months, workers now have to juggle the back to school season. Whether school is virtual, hybrid or fully in person, parents are devoting more time to helping their kids navigate schoolwork. Just when employees may have felt like they were figuring out the pandemic lay of the land, restrictions change (either loosening or getting tighter) or they have to manage a confusing and stressful new set of challenges.  Bottom line: within months, life has reached new levels of chaos. 

Picture the impact for your employees (and you): the usual quiet spaces are full of background noise, making something as simple as a conference call a tall order. If Zoom calls had a stress meter for participants, there would be off-the-charts readings. So, what  can your employees do to bring some order to the chaos? Is there anything you can suggest to help strike a better (if not healthy) work-life balance during this pandemic? Check out 3 tips that might just help: 

 1: Take a true break

Encourage employees to take work breaks throughout the day.  Maybe it’s as easy as going for a short walk around the neighborhood, exercising, or simply getting a breath of fresh air. During this time, remind them to avoid answering work emails and just take time for themselves, no matter how short. If it’s a lunch break, remember the benefit of eating healthy.  It’s easy to load up on caffeine and processed snacks, but fruits and vegetables are a better option for long days sitting at a desk or juggling kids’ classes.  With a true break, employees will assuredly step back into their makeshift home office cool, calm and collected.

2: Cross the finish line

The workday must end at some point, so help employees cross the finish line.  Keep in mind that once the workday is finished, for some, it might be just beginning. Employees might move from work to the “second shift” if they have kids or parents to care for.  To address this, employers might consider instituting some policies around no meetings before 8AM, no meetings during lunch time, or no meetings after 5PM. There may need to be exceptions to these policies, especially if different time zones drive meeting times. But putting some limitations on how long the official workday lasts can ease the burden employees feel. And it may promote another good tip: getting at least 7-8 hours of restful sleep. Leaders can model the way by not sending off-hours messages, enabling employees to turn off their technology at least one hour before bed. By drawing the finish line, you’ll be helping your team wake up the next day ready to tackle the day’s challenges.

3: Preserve time with family and/or friends

These days, work hours blend into non-work hours—and finding or taking time to enjoy family or friends is more difficult.  Allotting dedicated time to family and/or friends is important to create some boundaries.  Encourage employees to plan weekend events, activities, or day trips. – Time away from work with those who matter most—even without traveling—can give employees much needed rest and relaxation. 

By offering these 3 tips, leaders will demonstrate that they recognize the chaos employees are facing—and they may just yield positive results for their teams. Life and work-life as we know it for employees and employers will become less stressful and much more pleasant. Employees will be happier, productive, and will be better equipped to manage work and stress during these chaotic times.  

If your company needs helping striking the right balance to keep employees engaged and productive, give us a call. We can help you send the right message (at the right time and format!) to let employees know you care about their well being as they strive to function in this chaotic work environment.

Don’t Mistake Digital Engagement for Employee Engagement: Why Zoom and WebEx Won’t Keep Your Team Feeling Connected

Many companies have adapted impressively in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The pivot to and nearly sole reliance on digital platforms like Zoom and WebEx have helped many organizations to barely skip a beat since the first shelter-in-place restrictions were imposed.   A recent study we conducted on engaging employees in a post-COVID environment confirms this observation.  Ninety percent of our respondents stated that they could do at least half of their work remotely and a full 40% said that all of their work could be done remotely.  This is certainly not true of all jobs in all industries—but a surprising number of roles “converted” to digital platforms practically overnight.  Up popped virtual team meetings, remote team dinners, and the standard live in-person meetings and conferences transformed into online experiences.  So is that it? Is remote work a sustainable solution and will it be the new normal? More importantly, can employees feel as engaged in this new work environment?

The ability to work remotely because we can doesn’t mean that doing so will yield the same level of employee engagement or a highly satisfying employee experience. I’ve heard many employees say they’ve traded their “shower, dress, and drive” routine for longer days filled with endless Zoom, WebEx or fill-in-the-blank platform meetings. Refitting dining rooms, spare bedrooms, attics, and basements into quasi offices/classrooms has produced new challenges in boundary setting. Where many of us now work is where we live, sleep, eat, and relax. And when these worlds intersect, it’s hard to tell where one ends and one begins. 

This new environment begs a lot of questions about how to engage employees.  While these digital tools and technology enable a constant flow of communications that support day-to-day operations, there needs to be more and different ways to connect with and engage your teams. What kinds of things might employers consider?  We propose that there are a number of tried and true drivers of employee engagement that—regardless of the current state of the world—can deliver the results you’re after. 

  1. Ability to do meaningful work: One of the biggest drivers of engaged employees is the sense that their work means something. Consider your organization’s mission and values. How can you remind employees of the reasons their work is important and is making an impact? What can you do to remind employees that now (more than ever?) the work they do is vital to keep the organization strong. 
  • One client chose to send a postcard to all its employees. On it was the company’s mission statement and a brief thank you for continuing to deliver on the mission statement despite the current challenging conditions. The result? A small, low-cost example that reiterated what the company stands for and how employees help to realize its vision.
  • Another client chose to end the weekly team call with a slide that showed the company’s tag line—and spoke about how the work employees did that week helped advance that cause. A small gesture like that can focus on employees on the reason they do their work.
  1. Relationship with your manager: Many studies have shown that employees feel engaged at work based on how strong their connection is to their managers. No surprise there.  This is particularly true for employees who are based out of their homes and do not go into a brick and mortar office; a manager often is the company for those employees. How can managers keep those relationships strong? Our survey points to two solutions:
    • “Micro connections matter” –In addition to the typical meetings you may hold every day, be sure to reach out with individual “micro” connections to your employees.  Short personal check-ins to let your employees know you’re thinking of them, you’re available if they need you, and that you value their contributions. These aren’t the blanket group messages that go to an entire team—instead, it’s a brief email, text, phone, or instant message that conveys your care for each team member individually.
    • “Understand their unique situations. Demonstrate to your employees that you get their situation. Maybe one employee has young children who need supervision with virtual school. Maybe another employee is a single parent trying to juggle the demands of family and work. Yet another may have sick or ailing parents who need care. And any employee may be impacted by knowing someone who has been affected by COVID-19.  Managers don’t have to solve these unique situations, but showing empathy for what employees are going through will go a long way in helping them feel understood.
  1. Compensation and benefits: Our survey suggests that about a quarter of respondents have experienced a change in their compensation—ranging from reduced bonus opportunities to fewer hours up to and including being furloughed.  Most managers don’t have the latitude to make decisions about employees’ compensation. But they can communicate company decisions clearly and be prepared to answer questions.  Many organizations also have employee assistance programs as part of their benefits package—and this offering can be valuable to employees during the pandemic. Communicating what is available to assist employees can positively impact employee engagement.
  1. Ability to advance and develop: Engaged employees seek opportunities to develop and advance their professional growth.  Although many companies may have suspended hiring or promotions, that doesn’t mean that you cannot provide learning and growth opportunities for your employees.  Is there training that employees can take to build or expand their skills? Can you give out “special assignments” to employees during the pandemic? If team members have additional capacity because they cannot fully perform their day-to-day responsibilities, can they use their skills and capabilities to do other work for you or the organization? 

There are no clear-cut proven strategies for engaging employees during COVID-19—yet. Starting with the traditional engagement levers is the first step.  And the most valuable resource for understanding how to engage employees is—of course—your employees. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they want and need.  You may not be able to accommodate all of the suggestions, but you may find that some ideas are completely doable and will strike the right chord with your employees to boost their engagement.

The Do’s of Video – What Makes Some Clips More Watchable?

As we continue to manage working through COVID-19, we’ve seen a sharp increase in use of digital platforms that include video.  The trend in this type of remote connectivity is not new; video provides tremendous opportunities for brands and businesses. It’s a simple and easy way to reach and connect with customers and employees. Although there will always be value and a need for in person interactions, using video, especially in our current situation, can be a powerful alternative to lengthy presentations or emails. But it takes some effort to make video work for you.  We put together a short list of tips to capture your audience’s attention and deliver messages that stick.

DO. Make your video message as clear and compelling as possible. 

Ask yourself the important questions:

  1. Who is your audience? 
  2. Have I connected with them previously?
  3. Is the information I’m sharing relevant? Engaging?

Like any type of presentation, a video needs to be well planned and executed.Will it be a headshot only of you talking? Will there be other “scenes”? Creating a “shot list” of the clips that need to be filmed to create a finished product will keep your video on a clear path. You don’t have to over engineer a video. You can use clear visuals with voiceover to add some dimension to the video.

DO. Make Your Videos Phone Friendly.

You can almost guarantee that a majority of your viewers will be watching from a mobile device. If you are filming a video via iPhone (this is great quality for a low cost) make sure it is being filmed horizontally at all times to ensure a full-screen video. When editing the video, ensuring all text, charts, & photos added in the overlay are large scale to allow viewers on small devices to appropriately see all information. 

DO. Invest in a few low-cost tools to enhance the quality. 

You’ll want to look good in front of the camera, but audio quality is just as important.  You can order some affordable tools online to enhance your video.  For example, a tripod to hold your camera or smartphone steady—or a small microphone to pick up your voice clearly can greatly improve your video. If you’ve written a script, you can even download a teleprompter for your iPad to deliver your message evenly and on message.

DO. Add a thumbnail.

Think of your thumbnail as your video’s packaging, it needs to be click-worthy to engage your viewers. The thumbnail of your video should include a clear photo or image that illustrates your topic and invites views to listen and watch. Using free websites such as can allow you to edit your image while adding text over the photo to get your videos point across.

If you want to reach employees and you cannot be face to face, consider adding video to your communication channels. What tips can you share about videos in your communication plan?

Tips For Working From Home

As many of us make the first time transition to working from home, it can become a bit of a challenge to adjust to this new lifestyle. Our team has been working remotely for years as we are based all over the Philadelphia area and our clients are from around the country. We all face unique challenges during this transition, but we wanted to share our experience to help make your transition a bit smoother into the world of remote work.

Most who work from home start with the challenge of deciding when to work, where to work, and how to create strong boundaries between your work and personal life. Remember, everything in life comes with time and practice so do not stress about not having it all figured out day one, we are human!

Maintain A Normal Work Routine

If you typically work an 8-5 day with a lunch break in between, try to stick to a similar schedule. Set clear guidelines for yourself and let others you live with that these are the hours that you will be working. A regular work routine means a regular morning routine, get up at the same time as you would for work (minus that commute time, enjoy the extra time to sleep!). Follow the regular practice of getting up, making your coffee, and getting ready for work, including getting dressed.  This will give you time to get into the correct mindset that you are heading into work (even if it just means going downstairs into your home office).

Set Up Your Space

Have you truly ever been productive from working in your bed? Set up a makeshift home office if you do not have one, even if that home office is going to be your kitchen table. Give yourself a designated space that you know when you enter it, it is time to work. Make sure those around you are aware of this work area so they can give you the respective space needed to maintain productivity. 

Schedule Breaks

All of us are entitled to a break in our workday; in fact, research shows we are more productive when we take breaks versus working nonstop. Do not deprive yourself of time to recharge several breaks throughout the day to boost your productivity. Schedule yourself flexible breaks within your workday to maintain focus levels. And when you take a break, stand up, and stretch your legs. Avoid just switching gears by looking at personal email or websites or apps of interest. Stretch and physically move so you are not too sedentary. 

Channel Surf to Stay Connected

Reach out to your coworkers through all available channels: Slack, IMessage, Skype, Zoom, etc. when you need something, have a question, or just want to check-in. Remember to maintain the community with your coworkers in this time of separation. This will allow your team to hold each other accountable, create a stronger unity, and create a clear message about the projects that need to be handled within the current moment. 

Whether this is your first week or fifth year of working from home, stay positive, stay motivated, and stay communicative. Have any specific questions about working from home? Send us a message on our Instagram page @KDH_Consulting or comment below, we would love to help!

6 Big Small Business Lessons: Looking back to look ahead.

I often wonder where the last decade has gone but running a small business will do that to you. Keep your head down, deliver for current clients, work to add new clients, add staff and other resources…before you know it 10 years have come and gone! If you’re a small business owner too, major milestones are a good time to pause and assess what you’ve learned. It’s a way to remember how far you’ve come and what you need to ensure your organization’s future success. During a recent look back at KDH Consulting, here’s where we netted out.

  1. Walk a mile in their shoes.  The more we can internalize what’s truly important to our clients, the better we’re able to serve them. Sometimes that means going beyond our scope of work. We learn as much about the company as we can—how they’re doing, how competitors are doing, the overall health of the company. If it’s possible for us to experience the buying process or the online customer experience, you can bet that we do it. In fact, that’s how we come up with our best ideas. Call it CE, Consultant Empathy– the more you have, the more your client will view you as someone who gets it.
  2. Lead or follow but don’t get in the way. We never forget that we serve at the pleasure of our clients. Knowing and adhering to that dictate makes our work much easier to deliver.  At the same time, we must be ready to lead if needed. I’ve worked with clients who wanted and needed to turn a project over to us completely—and when given that authority, we were ready to do so.  If we don’t agree with a client’s strategy or path forward, we’ll tell them why. Then we move forward to help them achieve their goals; continuing to churn is not productive.
  3. Never stop learning. Employee Engagement, Corporate Culture, and Change Management are three of our sweet spots. These fields are evolving—and it’s our job to find out as much as we can about these topics. We read everything we can get our hands on, attend conferences and seminars and engage with subject matter experts whenever possible. We have to be aware of what works and doesn’t, and continually build our expertise. After all, if we don’t stay on top of trends, how can we can help our clients stay on top?  
  4. Fit to be tied, together.   We collaborate with a wide number of partners—vendors and subcontractors—to help deliver our services.  Some collaborations have been exceptional, others less so. The difference? Not skillset but mindset. I might need an exceptional graphic designer or videographer to help with a big project. Regardless of how “good” they may be, our collaboration will be a success only if they are also responsive, proactive and flexible. They need to be enthusiastic and pleasant to work with, too. No matter what skills I’m paying for, these behaviors make a big difference in how well partners fit with our company and whether or not we’ll hire them again.
  5. Step away from the laptop.  About a year ago, my best friend shared that she was worried about my health. I knew that I wasn’t sleeping enough and had abandoned the idea of taking time to hit the gym. I honestly thought that if I just worked a few more hours each week I could get it “all” done. Who was I kidding? Owning your own business by definition means it’s never all done.  I decided then and there to make a concerted effort to step back more often, to enjoy dinner out with my husband on a weeknight or do something impromptu with my kids when the opportunity arose.  Guess what? The work was waiting for me when I got back, and I felt better about tackling it. 
  6. Expand and grow, naturally. No shock here: new business rarely comes to you; you have to go to it. What I’ve learned, however, is that the big expansion plan or growth strategy wasn’t something I ever had the time to pursue as a discrete and separate activity. I realized that it didn’t have to be; it’s more organic than that. Rather than the dreaded networking or prospecting activities, I prefer to connect in a more natural way, when and where the opportunity presents itself.  I feel fortunate that people genuinely want to know how things are going with my business and I happily share, making the point that I’m looking forward to growing. If there is a need for a deeper discussion about a business opportunity, then I’m always prepared to share my often-refreshed and always up-to-date website, social media, and capabilities deck.    

I can’t wait to see what Lessons my team and I will learn in the decade ahead! What about you? Do you own your own business? What lessons have you learned? How will you carry these lessons into your future success? Leave your comments here!