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Paper Napkin Wisdom - Podcast and Blog for Entrepreneurs, Leaders and Difference-Makers

I've asked 1000s of the worlds top Entrepreneurs, Leaders, and Difference-Makers to share with me their most important pearl of wisdom on a simple paper napkin. Then I ask them to have a conversation about why they shared that Paper Napkin Wisdom with me and what it meant to them and for them in their life. Visit http://www.papernapkinwisdom.com for full show notes and archives. Learn their exceptional Stories of Drive, Impact, Balance and Leadership shared by CEOs, founders, authors, speakers, mentors, and teachers. They share successes and failures alike, paying forward their learning experiences to all of us.
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Now displaying: February, 2018
Feb 28, 2018

We’re just a few days away from 2017! If you’re like most business owners, you’re looking for ways to evolve your marketing strategy next year. If so, this podcast is my New Year's gift to you. Former Paper Napkin Wisdom guest Joe Calloway recommended today’s guest, and I’m so glad he did. Jane Atkinson has over 25 years of experience securing top-tier speaking gigs for Fortune 500 C-Level executives.

In today’s podcast, we discuss her method that ensures success for her campaigns. Her three step process, “Ready, Aim, Fire”,which she outlines in her new book The Wealthy Speaker, provides the framework for her clients to succeed. “In the ‘Ready’ phase, we get crystal clear as to what we’re selling,” she says. Aim refers to gaining clarity around what the focus of the campaign will be, while ‘Fire’ is the execution of the campaign.

All great marketing plans have a formula and Jane’s “rule of threes” framework is no different. Prior to developing this outlook, she realized the need to develop a unique process. “I knew what I was talking about, but it wasn’t very organized,” she says. During the ready phase, she recommends entrepreneurs to gain clarity into what it is they’re selling. While this may be easy for some, she urges business owners to ensure that this clarity permeates all levels of the organization.

The aim phase is a bit more intense. “You have to pick a lane and narrow down where you’d like to be viewed as an expert,” she says. Developing a clear and concise promise statement is a large part of the aim phase. This statement “should explain what you do and who you do it for,” Jane recommends. She also puts a large emphasis on curating a target audience and understanding how the product or service will benefit them.

Following the aim phase, it’s time to “fire”. “Attempt to answer your buyers questions, then provide solutions,” she recommends.

 This should be a cyclical process in any business, Jane says. “If your message isn’t resonating, ask yourself - are reaching out to the right market? Circle back to ready and evaluate,” she advises. While many entrepreneurs may be itching for change, she also warns against making major overhauls. Instead, she recommends strategic tweaks and evaluating strategies prior to moving forward. “I had a client who was looking to get in front of the healthcare community. He didn’t think our strategies were working. But it turned out that it was just taking more time that he was accustomed to,” Jane recalls. And, if a major overhaul is needed, Jane recommends that brands “put out feelers to see who the message resonates with the most in order to create momentum.”

It's normal for people to occasionally get stuck in the chaotic “ready” phase, but Jane says that it’s often fear that’s driving the bus. “If you're afraid, gain clarity around what's making you uncomfortable and refer to points in your past to combat that fear,” she says. While perfection is ideal, it’s also not very realistic. “[Business owners] need to be okay with not being perfect,” she says.

What phase are you currently in with your brand? What are some ways you can explore to become “unstuck”? Comment below (www.Facebook.com/PaperNapkinWisdom) or send us a Tweet at www.twitter.com/wisenapkin with your response.

Feb 24, 2018

Bottom line … when we are under pressure and stress (or distress) our pulse quickens. We need to distribute vital energy to various parts of our bodies quicker in these situations.

Our companies are no different. We need to speed up our communication rhythm in these situations and there is no doubt that there is value to having a regular heartbeat – a regular structure to daily, weekly, monthly communications.

Take Action is a short podcast, usually between 3 to 5 minutes long, and the focus is on the small, 1% improvements we can make in our businesses and lives. Small changes make a big difference!

This podcast will help you make small changes that will change your world, so we can together save the world one entrepreneur and small business at a time!

Based on The Book Paper Napkin Wisdom: Your 5 Step Plan to Life and Business Success … get yours now on Amazon or at Paper Napkin Wisdom.

Feb 21, 2018

Business success, especially entrepreneurial success, is about finding the right fit for your work, while also finding a harmony with everything else that affects your work. Business success is like relationship success. Sure, it would be wonderful to find the perfect match, but sometimes it’s even better to learn how to make an imperfect match fit. Communication and understanding allow unlike people to form mutually beneficial alliances. When alliances are formed, trust is born. It’s the same with business.

Moving at the speed of trust propels businesses to flourish in a timely manner, while reinforcing and strengthening the foundations of that success.

People often ask Tendrel’s Devon Davey how to build a solid business team. Her go-to reply is: start small with the power of two. Entrepreneurs can move so quickly that they are unable to initially communicate and receive feedback from a large team. Again, to use the relationship analogy, once the trust is established between two people, others can be brought in slowly, and then more rapidly, into the mix.

Listening becomes key in business relationships. Because it’s not about who is right or wrong, but rather it’s about different neutral perspectives having a voice. Neutrality fosters workplace winning, without ego. For instance, partners have strengths you many not possess. Instead of viewing that from a competitive perspective, if their strengths can be accepted as a plus that compliments your weakness, while your strengths also shine, progress can be made without getting personal or emotional. It’s a stretch to leave ego at the door and head into that mutually beneficial magnanimous territory.

Partners, business or personal, come together for each other’s strengths, but stay together because of each other’s stretches. Stretches require solidarity, convergence, and trust. Strengths are where we are comfortable. Stretches require us to take on the unfamiliar, without self-doubt. Together, these two forces are the cornerstones of all success.

Feb 17, 2018

Resilience is not an accident. It doesn’t arrive at the moment of need by default.

The reality is that resilience is there when we need it when we plan for it. Part of this is, of course, planning for it by having a great Playbook, aligned with your Path, and articulated with predictable communication structures to your Key Players. Without planning there’s no chance that you’ll have resilience when you need it.

The thing is, however, practice is important too. How do you practice resilience? Listen in … but it starts with building predictable structures of communication and collaboration. It continues with practicing these habits in good times – maintaining them during great times.

Holding space for your team (and yourself) daily helps.

Take Action is a short podcast, usually between 3 to 5 minutes long, and the focus is on the small, 1% improvements we can make in our businesses and lives. Small changes make a big difference!

This podcast will help you make small changes that will change your world, so we can together save the world one entrepreneur and small business at a time!

Based on The Book Paper Napkin Wisdom: Your 5 Step Plan to Life and Business Success … get yours now on Amazon or at Paper Napkin Wisdom.

Feb 14, 2018

Over the years, Paper Napkin Wisdom guests have described ways for entrepreneurs to structure their business and life in a way that gears them for success. While some topics have been complex, today’s podcast gets us back to the basic. Serial entrepreneur Bill Dallas explains his guiding principles in business and life for the past three decades. “Pairing means with meaning is the only way to live a full life,” he asserts. “Means” refers to the problems entrepreneurs solve, while “meaning” describes the purpose behind their efforts. He believes that merging the two ideals is the key to successful entrepreneurship and a happy life.

He started his businesses back in the 1980s in an old Victorian home. Back then, entrepreneurship was just barely in vogue.  “I had to apply meaning to the things I was doing on a daily basis, even when they weren’t things I necessarily enjoyed doing,” Bill recalls. By deriving meaning from even the most mundane of tasks, he was able to parlay that passion and become the founder of several lending companies across the United States. “When you apply meaning to what you do today, you feel successful in the moment and it propels you to success and creates exponential results,” he says. He also doesn’t believe in putting any energy into tasks that don’t revolve around the ultimate goal, stating that it’s a waste of energy. “When you apply meaning to your means, the problems you solve and things you learn will end up teaching you where you need to go,” he remarks.

Bill has several nuggets derived from his years of experience. He believes in keeping things simple but intentional and authentic.  In fact, Bill gives each of his new employees the acclaimed Robert Fulghum title All I Really Need to Know I’ve Learned in Kindergarten. “We already know pretty much everything we need to,” he says, “Living this way will attract like-minded people.”

He also believes that all entrepreneurs must embody four personas in order to be successful. “Act like an immigrant,” he says, “Have a chip on your shoulder, work hard and remember where you came from. You can’t be an entrepreneur and be entitled. ” Next, he urges entrepreneurs to be artisans and leave their mark on society. Thirdly, Bill advises entrepreneurs to act like a waitress or waiter, “They are the pinnacle of entrepreneurship. They know that their livelihood is dependent on the level of service they provide their customers.” Finally, he believes entrepreneurs should be coaches and serve as a mentor for their teams and fellow entrepreneurs.

By embodying these traits and principles, Bill believes any entrepreneur will find success – and, more importantly, meaning within their success. “Life is simple, just not easy,” he says, “Entrepreneurs should want a rich life more than they want riches.”

Let us know what you think on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WiseNapkin or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/PaperNapkinWisdom 

Feb 10, 2018

If you’re a Rebel, Rule-Breaker and Renegade this is for you …

If you’re the kind of person that likes to follow along with all the rules (especially from other people) and loves doing JUST what their told this won’t make sense.

As an entrepreneur we like to color outside the lines … even our lines.

STOP IT! It’s the most challenging thing to do … but in this week’s episode I share why we need to stop and how it can move us forward.

Take Action is a short podcast, usually between 3 to 5 minutes long, and the focus is on the small, 1% improvements we can make in our businesses and lives. Small changes make a big difference!

This podcast will help you make small changes that will change your world, so we can together save the world one entrepreneur and small business at a time!

Based on The Book Paper Napkin Wisdom: Your 5 Step Plan to Life and Business Success … get yours now on Amazon or at Paper Napkin Wisdom.

Feb 7, 2018

Just in time for Christmas, there’s cold weather in the upcoming forecast here in Ottawa. So it’s fitting that today’s podcast discusses ways to raise the temperature on company culture. If you’re a long-time Paper Napkin Wisdom fan, you’re familiar with Motivational Speaker and Leadership Consultant Jason Barger. In today’s chat, we focused on how companies can collaboratively create and maintain a positive culture, or in Jason’s words, “Be a thermostat; proactively set your temperature.” Jason details this sentiment in his new book Thermostat Culture. The book centers on the difference between a thermometer and a thermostat – while thermometers just report the temperature, the thermostat controls and regulates the environment. “Culture is dynamic,” Jason says, “The most successful cultures are proactively managed.”

For the past decade, organizations and pundits have become obsessed with company culture. But Jason points out that a great culture consists of more than foosball tables, catered lunches and casual attire. “We throw around the term ‘culture’ so loosely. Part of setting a thermostat culture revolves around constant measuring and re-aligning,” Jason remarks.

So, how can companies effectively measure this culture? Jason proposes a method he’s dubbed “The 6A Process”. First, leaders must assess the current temperature. Jason recalls an instance where he and his hiking companions lost their way in the Adirondacks.

“We weren’t clear where we were on the map,” he recalls, “Until you travel to Point Z, you have to know where point A is.” He suggests having “conversations about the currency for change”, in which organizations really take an honest look at their current culture and assess the need for change. The second ‘A’, aligning, refers to bringing the organization together to determine whether or not everyone is aligned on the assessment and the need for improvement. “Basically, everyone needs to collectively agree on whether or not they’re buying into it,” Jason says.

Once aligned, organizations need to begin to determine where they want to be. “A wise man once said ‘He who aims for nothing, hits it every time’,” Jason says. He suggests giving people space during this period and allowing them to buy in to the ultimate company culture vision. The fourth ‘A’ stresses the importance of clearly articulating the culture. Developing, revising or referring to a brand platform that outlines mission and vision statements, core values and key messages is especially helpful during this time.

The final two ‘A’s – action and anchor – go hand in hand. Organizations must decide what they need to do to ensure their culture permeates through all aspects of their business and develop systems to make it stick. “After these steps are complete, I remind people to revisit them every so often – especially during times where it seems like the culture is going off-kilter,” Jason advises.

Developing and maintaining a strong company culture is undoubtedly one of the tenets of a great organization. However, Jason warns organizations to not get too comfortable. “The phrase ‘We have a good culture’ should end with a comma, not a period. Whenever it ends with a period, I’ve found that the culture is in peril. There should always be conversations surrounding ways to keep the culture alive. You have to make that investment.”

What are some of the ways you keep your organizations’ culture afloat? Share it with us via Twitter at www.twitter.com/wisenapkin or Facebook www.facebook.com/PaperNapkinWisdom 

Feb 3, 2018

Each week I’€™ll post a short podcast, usually between 3 to 5 minutes long, just talking about how to apply the Paper Napkin Wisdom 5 Step Plan to Life and Business Success in an everyday kind of way.

As I was speaking to a group of entrepreneurs about execution this week, we discussed the value of changing our Perspective as leaders to not think that we were out front, but rather out back of our teams supporting them as they charged forward.

The discussion evolved toward understanding the value of how elephants lead. While elephants have obvious size and strength, that’s not how they lead. The alpha female is the leader of the herd and she leads from the back of the group using skills like Problem Solving, Social Intelligence, Openness, Decisiveness, Patience, Confidence, and Compassion to guide the group.

Make it a great week!!

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