Archive for business coaching

In Celebration of Earth Day, this Partnership Shines a Light on New Possibilities

This year, Earth Day is more meaningful to me. Sure, I’ve observed the annual event since its inception in 1970, but this year, my work with a new client—Stracker Solar—has me more inspired than ever. Stracker Solar is a solar energy innovator and is a key player in a groundbreaking partnership that has the potential to benefit farmers, the public at large and the environment—all while supporting our collective desire to make every day “Earth Day.”

The partnership is an agrivoltaic project—using farmland for both agriculture and solar photovoltaic energy generation. With funding from a government grant, Stracker Solar, a Willamette Valley farm, and a renewable energy cooperative are testing the benefits to the three most foundational elements of modern life: food, water and energy.

Here’s a bit from the press release:

Stracker on the farm“A pioneering research project will allow Our Table Cooperative Farm, a leading advocate for sustainable farming practices, to counter the challenges of growing heat-sensitive crops like lettuce during Oregon’s increasingly hot summers by growing them under elevated, moving solar panels and reducing the water needed for irrigation. The project will supply nearly all of the farm’s energy needs and provide backup power to keep its farm store and food storage running during natural disasters.

“The project, named “Lettuce Shine, is a collaborative effort of Our Table Farm, the Oregon Clean Power Cooperative, and Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences. It is largely funded by a generous grant from Portland General Electric’s Renewable Development Fund. It will use unique pole-mounted solar panels from Ashland, Oregon-based Stracker Solar, and battery storage from Sol-Ark. Dynalectric Oregon, an electrical contractor based in Portland, will install the components.”

Lettuce Shine LogoThe project is underway and will facilitate research and educational opportunities for schoolchildren, college students, and the public at large. It’s exciting to be part of a partnership with such a wide-reaching impact. Why couldn’t there be more win-win-win partnerships? My optimism tells me there can.

As a business coach and strategist, I’m always curious about why some partnerships are more successful than others. I asked my LinkedIn network what they thought were the essential components of a successful partnership and here’s what I heard:

Shared goals, distinct roles, willingness to keep the problems separate from the personalities, clarity about who has decision rights in various domains, taking oneself lightly, a sense of humor and extending each other grace. It’s a tall order but some partnerships are 1+1=3.

So far, the Our Table partnership has lived up to these tenets. As another person commented on LinkedIn, successful partnerships must embody “Clear communication, shared goals, and trust.”

What partnerships are you involved in? Think about all aspects of your life. What is helping—or hurting—each partnership’s success?

As we reflect on Earth Day’s importance, I encourage you to consider the idea that we humans are all in partnership with each other and we are responsible for caring for our planet. Not just one day a year, but every day.

As Lady Bird Johnson once said, “The environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.”

Are You on Track to Meet Your Year-End Goals?

Woman Jumping a Track Hurdle

Here are 5 steps to make it happen.

Last month, I read a blog post by my high school classmate Bruce Johnson titled “How to Craft a 100-Day Plan So You Finish This Year Well.” He’s a very smart guy who, as he puts it, has “a business growth coaching, consulting and executive education firm that helps business owners and entrepreneurs like you become great at building a business that’s designed for maximum growth, impact and profitability.”

His post got me wondering what I could do to boost the year for Capiche—my own coaching and consulting firm. I read Bruce’s steps and realized that not only could I do these for my own business, but also that I could help other businesses implement these steps for their success.

I encourage you to read Bruce’s post. I’ve outlined his steps below and added some of my own ideas for #5: Set Yourself up for Success for Next Year. Have a look.

1. Be Clear on Your Starting and End Points.

It’s October. January is less than three months away. What is realistic? What is most important? Focus there. As Bruce reminds us, “Don’t limit your targets/metrics to just revenue. Pick three to five metrics for you and your team.”

2. Go for the Low-Hanging Fruit First.

Seems obvious. We have long- and short-term plans and tactics, and while we need to be working both, at year’s end, it’s okay to hit the short-term plan hard. Typically, this means re-igniting relationships with current/recent clients vs. reeling in that new client.

3. Double the Speed.

I love Bruce’s analogy of the two-minute warning in football or that last leg of the track race. You don’t slow down because the event is almost over—you put it into overdrive to come out ahead. Do the same with your business tactics.

4. Calendarize Your Tactics.

Calendarize? Really? Bruce, is this even a word?! (Just kidding. I looked it up. It is.) In other words, set dates and hold people—including yourself—accountable. It’s easy to blow something off when there’s not a deadline. Time is short. Calendarize every step toward your goals.

5. Set Yourself up for Success for Next Year.

Bruce mentions things like a new marketing campaign, a new product, a new technology issue or capability, hiring or training some new talent, researching a new market or redesigning a new website with new capabilities.

Here are a few other ideas you can accomplish this year to set yourself up for success in 2015:

  • Revisit your organization’s mission, vision, values and purpose. Do your mission, vision, values and purpose still make sense? Do they ring true? If not, it’s time to get clear on what you DO hold true and how you want your business to move forward.
  • Do a brand assessment. Check in to see if you are in alignment with your brand. Are you living your brand? Do all your business decisions align with your brand? Does every action and communication align with your brand? If not, it’s time to get a clearer definition of your brand, which will guide you toward a more focused business strategy.
  • Conduct a perception survey to determine how others view your organization. Talk to key stakeholders (clients, customers, suppliers, vendors, influencers, and your in-house team). Use this information to chart where you are now vs. where you want to go in 2015.

Let Capiche help you with any or all of the three strategies listed above. You’ll be delighted how these simple actions will craft a winning strategy for 2015.

I’ll sign off with Bruce’s signature closing . . . “To your accelerated success!”