Create The Process, Solve The Problem

Decision-making was the topic of one of my recent blog posts and then just the other day, I came across this fantastic quote:

“Most business activity is slowing down, not accelerating. In benchmarking the speed of key processes across the corporate sector, we find again and again that decision-making at even the most basic level has slowed materially over the past five to ten years.”

– Tom Monahan, CEO of CEB

Monahan wrote an entire article with supporting data around this topic and I wanted to weigh in, as well, because one of the key factors in growth is finding rhythm in decision- making.

Making decisions in business is an everyday activity. Whether you are a one-person show or on a team of dozens, finding a way to come to a decision (right or wrong) should be broken down into a standard process.

Don’t have one? Create one.

Depending on your industry, your team (or no team) and the decisions at hand, the process you create will look different, but having one gets the ball rolling and stops you from getting stuck.

For example, your office is in need of new accounting software. Everyone is complaining about it being outdated and they’re just sending emails back and forth without actually working on a plan to change the situation.

Maybe it’s simply because they don’t know what to do? Who do they tell? What do they tell them? When do they tell them?

For this scenario, you would create a decision-making team. If you don’t have a team, find friends or colleagues to support you.

You need a researcher, someone to compile all the research, someone to present the research, a meeting to discuss the findings, a decision by vote at the end of the meeting, someone to order the software and someone to learn the software and train the rest of the office.

Delegate people to each task and set realistic deadlines and expectations. Often it’s the lack of scheduling and firm timeframes that delay decisions.

Now, anytime the office comes across an IT or software related decision need, a process and a team is in place.

Problem: Outdated software

Step 1: Research team starts looking for options.

Step 2: Interns compile all the research into Excel…

And so on and so forth.

If you want to work on creating a process for decision-making in your business, let’s chat. Reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com.

Commit to the journey

“Dream big. Accomplish bigger.”

– Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress of Success

I had the honor of listening to Joi speak this past week at the 11th annual Women in Business: Making Change power breakfast to support Dress for Success.

If you know me, you know I’m not a breakfast person. I don’t eat eggs. Gasp, I know. So paying for a ticket to a breakfast event turns into one really expensive cup of coffee or tea BUT also turns into a morning full of inspiration and motivation.

Every time I get away from my desk, my screen, my phone and sit down in a room full of powerful and tenacious women, I can’t help but leave with a smile.

The overall message from the event centered around committing to the journey. Whatever journey you may be on. If you are an entrepreneur, if you are working your way up the corporate ladder, if you are in a career transition, it’s all the same. Stay the course.

Amanda K. Johnson, a woman who had participated in the Dress for Success program, spoke at the event about how a “no often turns into a yes”. She relayed the story of how she worked with Habitat for Humanity and when year two came around, she applied and was denied. This “no” turned into other opportunities.

She is smart, tenacious and currently working on her MBA in her industry. She works in the construction industry, typically a male-dominated field and she wants to see women feel empowered to step into positions in contracting.

The 20/20 movement was brought up several times, which is a national campaign to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to 20% or greater by the year 2020. A fantastic movement and if you aren’t familiar with it, you can read all about it here.  Amanda wants to see 50% participation from women in 2020 in the construction field.  

Last week I talked about business “competition” and how we are really just partners for one another as we all go through obstacles and triumphs.

This event again reminded me what we can do together, as women, when we work together to put our talents into the world and believe in ourselves.

If you want a support system in place as you commit to your entrepreneurial journey, as you commit to leading your sales team, as you commit to creating a new life, please reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com and let’s start today.

I did it for her…why can’t I do it for myself?

SSC has worked with both entrepreneurs and corporate clients for many years. I had made a decision to put as many marketing efforts towards the corporate clients as I have put to the small businesses.

Currently, our marketing is geared towards one owner, often building out their first team, with messages that are more personal. It was time to up and expand our game in the marketing arena, sharing the full scope of the work we do.

As we build our new website and want to share about the various types of work we do, it’s been a struggle creating the marketing copy to support these efforts. Yes, sometimes even finding your own voice can be a challenge.

How do we speak to both audiences?
What are the main differences?
Do women in both of these areas have the same struggles?

When we sit down and talk over a cup of coffee, the main thing women seem to chat about differently than men, but the same as one another, is money.

Women take on many levels of responsibility: kids, activities, charities, etc. and our calendars tend to remain full.

Just last week, I was working with a successful business woman on building out the next extension of her business. She said to me, “Wow, this has all been floating around in my head for ages and today working together made it all clear to me.”

I was elated for her, but confused for myself. The marketing, the voice, the actions. Was I losing my touch? I couldn’t figure out my own stuff, just everybody elses? Then I realized, I am just too close to it. And when you are too close to something, it’s easy to lose clarity and perspective. Even my team is too close to it.

So, I took action and reached out to a colleague and great friend as we have built our businesses together over the years, always supporting one another.

My email said HELP: I need clarity, perspective and someone smart whose heart is not closely connected, can you talk?

Guess what, we are scheduled to chat later this week and I know this will get me into motion and out of my own way.

Who is your go to when you need clarity? A coach, a mentor, a friend?

If you need someone, I am happy to be there for you. I’m just a phone call or email away. You can reach me at support@slatersuccesscoaching.com anytime.

Never stay stuck.
You and your business are going places!

She created it, millions would wear it…

It was 1974 and a young, Belgian-born designer had been living in New York for a few years trying to begin a career in fashion.

Then, it happened.

Her name: Diane von Furstenberg.

Her creation: the wrap dress.

By 1976, she sold 5 million of those iconic dresses.

She was at the top of the world and women everywhere were sporting this flattering, gorgeous dress.

Her brand, DVF for short, did have it’s share of challenges. Furstenberg even left the fashion world for years and had to relaunch her brand and regain her reputation.

She has said she was more interested in just diving in, than creating a plan, and that caused problems.

Of course, something I always talk about. Make sure your vision and plans are solid and then work the actions daily to accomplish the ultimate goals.

Her relaunch was successful and Furstenberg is still a powerhouse in the fashion industry.

If you are still looking for a great summer read, pick up Furstenberg’s memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be (A New York Times Bestseller). It’s inspirational and fascinating reading about her childhood, her early years in fashion, her time as a princess (yep, did you know about that?) building a global brand and even beating cancer.

In 2012, she launched a children’s line with Gap and I read a quote that really stuck out to me.

“The minute a little girl is born, she is already the woman she will be. So to empower a little girl is to empower the woman she will become.” -Diane von Furstenberg

What a great message! All the young women in this world deserve strong role models in all industries. Corporate, fashion, engineering, art, music, culinary, you name it. This is the heart of Slater Success. Of course, Diane von Furstenberg’s quote also brought me back to birthing my daughter Alexandra 25 years ago and thinking of the woman she has become.

Furstenberg is a huge supporter of other women and empowering women and we can all learn a lesson from her. Support the amazing women around you and believe that anything is possible.

If you are want to talk about your dreams and how to get there, reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com

The one and only…Oprah

Oprah. Winfrey.

One amazing woman and my focus for this week’s women in leadership summer series.

Oprah was born into poverty as the daughter of a Mississippi single, teenage mother in 1954. (Actually, her birth name was Orpah, from the Book of Ruth in the bible, but it was misspelled and mispronounced so much that Oprah stuck).

She suffered sexual abuse from relatives, was made fun of in school because of her clothing and received more care from her grandmother than her own mother.

After a very troubled childhood, she began to thrive in high school, becoming an honor student and working for a radio station her senior year.

She started her journey in media, becoming a news anchor, a co-host of a local talk show, and eventually the host of a Chicago morning show hurting for ratings. When Oprah took the lead, the show skyrocketed into popularity and thus, The Oprah Winfrey Show was born in 1986. If I am doing my math correctly, WOW at 32 years old, this is a women who earns your respect and a role model for us all. Her show ran until 2011, a wildly impressive 25 years.

She has interviewed some of the biggest names in the world, runs a successful book club, started her own magazine and of course, OWN, her television network launched in 2011. She’s starred in movies and produced a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical.

She’s also raised and donated millions of dollars to charitable programs with causes like girls’ education and relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

She was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.

Her list of accomplishments is by far one of the greatest lists by any woman this century. Her beautiful and caring personality, her desire to give back and help others and the powerful role model she is for all women is truly inspiring.

Oprah has so many great quotes, but here are two of my favorites…

“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.” – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is surely an example of those words. Her success is unmatched. Remember that quote as you prepare to get to the the next level of your business and career.

“Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” – Oprah Winfrey

I love this!

Surround yourself with support. If your support is building a business, support at home, with family. I look at my dry cleaners as part of my support team. With my busy speaking and traveling schedule, Josh always has my back. If you need someone to talk to about your business, please reach out.

And share with me on the SSC Facebook page your favorite Oprah quote!

I want to be friends with Barbara…

I think we’d get along really well, both New Yorkers, both women, moms and business owners.

I’m fascinated at her background, growing up in a family of ten children that dealt with financial struggles and how she went on to become a millionaire investor and real estate mogul.

I’d love to chat with her about the 22 jobs she had before she decided to open a real estate office at the young age of 23 and how she grew it to a $6 billion dollar business. Even more impressive is that she started that business with only a $1,000 loan.

I want to pick her brain about leading a team, creating an empire, speaking at huge events, writing successful books, investing in new ideas, being a television personality and of course, her amazing style.

So who is this friend I’d love to have?

I’m talking about Barbara Corcoran.

She is a woman I was super excited to talk about in this summer series of women leaders. You know her from Shark Tank, and I encourage you to look up more information about this dynamic woman.

If you have Twitter, follow her. Her tweets are so often motivational and powerful messages. One of my favorite quotes comes from this lady…

“Don’t you dare underestimate the power of your own instinct.” – Barbara Corcoran

This is a great message to remember whether you are a company of one or a company of thousands. Listen to your gut.

Barbara wasn’t handed success, she earned it. And a big part of that is because she listened to her own instinct time and time again. She has been quoted in articles saying that she knew she didn’t want to work for anybody else, so becoming an entrepreneur was the answer.

I think it’s safe to say she made the right career choice.

Whether you work in your home office alone or lead a large corporate team, remember why you started doing what you are doing. And listen to yourself when you need to make the next big decision. If you want someone to talk to, I’m here. Schedule a call.

I’ll leave you with another great quote from Barbara…

“Finding opportunity is a matter of believing it’s there.” – Barbara Corcoran

Believe it’s there and make this week count.

Their powerful words and their brave actions…

As America celebrates the fourth of July, I thought I’d focus on a few powerful women in American history for the continuation of our summer series on women leaders.

I was astounded reading the accomplishments of so many women from our past and I wish I could share them all. If you have a moment, just Google a list of women who shaped America and lose yourself in the awesomeness of these ladies.

I wanted to share about three of those women today and share some of their words.

Harriet Tubman is the definition of courage and strength. Born into slavery in 1822, she later escaped and guided many slaves to freedom using a network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. Tubman was the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war. Just last year, the U.S. Treasury Department was discussing a plan for Tubman to become the new face of the $20 bill.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
– Harriet Tubman

Amelia Earhart is a prime example of taking action on your dreams. She was born in 1897 and would go on to become the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She wrote best-selling books about her travels and set many aviation records.

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”
– Amelia Earhart

Eleanor Roosevelt is an example of standing up for what you believe in. She was born in 1884 and was the longest-serving First Lady of the United States. She spoke out about roles for women in the workforce, as well as the civil rights of African Americans and Asian Americans.

“Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Roosevelt and Earhart were actually good friends. Roosevelt even getting a student permit with aspirations of learning to fly. That didn’t happen, but the two remained close. I’d love to have been a guest at lunch with these two women, wouldn’t you? The conversations they must have had!

All of these women inspire me as a business owner and a woman in 2017.
They were the true trailblazers.

Be courageous, take action, stand up for what you believe in.
Simple advice, but not always easy to follow.

Tell me about your female idol from American history!

She is amazing and you need to watch this today…

For the summer months, I’m doing a series of newsletters focusing on women leaders of past and present that I truly admire.

Sheryl Sandberg is my focus for this week and the timing is perfect, as she’s been in the news lately as someone rumored to have been on the wish list to become the new CEO of Uber Technologies Inc. Sources say she will be staying put at Facebook, where she has been the COO for the past nine years. She’s been on many companies wish list to become their CEO because she is truly dynamic and amazing.

In a recent Bloomberg article I was reading, it was noted that at Facebook she has helped create a $445 billion company and has “become a leading voice on what companies need to do to boost diversity and improve their culture.”

Her resume is nothing short of amazing:

  • Harvard graduate
  • Former chief of staff for the United States Treasury Department under President Clinton
  • Former vice president of global online sales and operations at Google
  • Current COO of Facebook
  • Founder of Leanin.org (Lean In Foundation) which is a non-profit helping women to reach their goals
  • Founder of the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to build a more equal and resilient world
  • Named in 2012 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world
  • Ranked as one of the 50 “Most Powerful Women in Business” by Fortune Magazine
  • First woman on the board at Facebook
  • Author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and co-author with Adam Grant of Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy
  • Speaker, her TED Talk from 2010 (see below) has over 7 million views

And so much more.

In 2015, Sandberg’s husband, Dave Goldberg, died suddenly and she has speaks openly about the pain of her loss and her life after this tragic event. The couple have two children together.

She spoke about her husband’s death, as well as building resiliency, practicing gratitude, celebrating always, focusing on the moments of joy and so much more in her commencement address for the University of California Berkeley’s Class of 2016 and I encourage you to watch her speech right now.

It’s extremely powerful and an excellent reminder to be grateful for everything in our lives.

If you have been a follower of SSC and our message, you know our strong beliefs in a gratitude practice and consistently celebrating, yes, even the small things.  

She also gave a fantastic TED Talk in 2010 about why we have too few women leaders. Although this speech was given six years ago, are there still too few? I know I have my thoughts and ideas to change this, what are yours? I welcome your feedback.

Watch it here. It’s a must.

If you need inspiration in your life today, spend some time getting to know this very remarkable woman. She has vast knowledge to share and you will learn so much from her. I know I have.

 

War Paint and the amazing women that changed the world of beauty

I love the theatre. I’m sure my passion for dance and performance plays into that and I recently saw the amazing show, War Paint.

The show tells the story of two beauty industry icons and rivals, Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden.

Both women founded cosmetic companies in the early 1900s and found massive success on their journeys.

Women leaders today can take a look at these dynamic women and gain inspiration and confidence that they can do whatever they dream.

Rubinstein was the oldest in a family of eight girls and made her way to Australia from Poland in her early 20s. She began working on a beauty cream formula, after her own mother had given her some to take on her trip, and by 1902 she was opening her first salon. She figured out that different skin types required different products and that was a huge discovery for that era.

Next it was on to Paris, where a few of her sisters worked with her and they were supporting their family back in Poland. Make-up was developed there and soon she found herself opening a salon in New York City, where her name and brand became very well-known. Her husband even wrote advertisements for her. Her business survived through The Wall Street Crash and two World Wars. She was a pioneer, always a step ahead in the world of beauty. She wasn’t afraid of trying innovative ideas like creating hormone creams or beauty products for men. She loved the industry and she made it her life’s work.

The youngest of five children, Florence Nightingale Graham, (later Elizabeth Arden) was born in Canada to a family that struggled financially. She eventually moved to New York and worked with her brother in the pharmaceutical industry. This is where she learned about skincare.

She opened The Red Door Salon in 1910 in New York City and would ultimately open salons internationally, in places like Paris, Rome and Hong Kong. She helped women see that make-up was not for the lower class (a thought at the times) that it was beautiful and ladylike, if applied correctly. The “makeover” was a concept started in her salons. Her business survived the Great Depression and at the top of her career, she was one of the wealthiest women in the world.

I encourage you to read more about both of these women.

The takeaway is simple. They had dreams, they had ideas, they had information to share and at the time, it wasn’t always information people were ready to hear. They were so ahead of their time and many of the beauty techniques we enjoy today, came from the research and creativity of these powerhouses.

If your idea seems outlandish right now, think about these women.
If you don’t think you can do it, think about these women.
If you’re scared, think about these women.

They were able to build empires at a time when women leaders were scarce. We live in a different time. This is our time.

Embrace your power as a woman and lead. Make decisions. Try new things. Fail. Get back up. Try again. Someone might be writing a newsletter about you and your company in 50 years.

Being liked is not always the solution

I wrote it. I looked at it. I thought it sounded a little different than I normally sound. I panicked.

I was was out of practice writing completely alone. Normally my copywriter and I collaborate. We have a discussion and we talk through ideas. But I did this by myself and as soon as I sent it to my team for review, I wanted to pull it all back.

What was I doing?

I was creating the application for my upcoming Business Success Retreat (BSR) and I was writing it to serious business owners. I was targeting a very specific group of people and I used really bold wording.

It was easy to write it, but then I instantly felt like putting it out there would make people “not like me.”

Why is Ivy talking like that? I thought she was nice. She’s being really pushy.

I am nice. But I also want people to succeed. When my clients work with me, I am clear and direct, so why was I struggling with being clear and direct in the language I was putting out there?

Being liked is not always not the solution. I know this and see it more and more as my brand and my business expands and grows.

Are you writing messages and content so people like you or so you make an impact?

Are you saying what you want or what you think they want to hear?

Say what you want to say, in a clear and direct voice, be bold, stand in your message and as you are building a bigger and bigger brand, your message needs to be clearer and clearer, stronger and stronger!

Review your website, marketing materials, speaking slides, emails. Review how you are communicating with others, your customers, your employees, your team, your associates. Are you clear, saying what you truly mean, being bold in your communication in all forms?

Are you confident and are you communicating confidently?

If you want to work on this, if you want to learn to stand strong in your message, be yourself and run a business on your terms, I invite you to check out that bold BSR application I wrote right here.

It’s happening June 27-28 in NYC and it’s a two-day, intense meeting full of surprises, breakthroughs, actions and fun. I’d love to save you a seat.