Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How Chef David Chang Learned to Stop Yelling and Start Leading

How Chef David Chang Learned to Stop Yelling and Start Leading

Monday, September 19, 2016

Nobody Is Perfect

The recent Paralympic Games have reminded us very well just how much is possible even with what we call a disability.

Many people have experienced things that have left them in a less than perfect way, In some cases this is clearly visible and easy to see. We compare ourselves to them and if we have all our limbs we look at them as though they be missing something that we have.

Yet not all situations that leave us less than able can be seen.

Stroke, brain injury from accidents or other causes. Kidney or liver problems, cancer, mental health problems are just some things we can face that may not show and yet leave us unable to do all that some others can do.

Even with everything working, we are all different. 

Some are good at communicating. Some are not. Some are good at maths while others of us don't process well that way or never really got the knack.

While technology is improving the abilities of those of us who have been faced with loss of a limb and given back mobility in a way that was once impossible we still look for differences instead of how we are alike.

The recent interest in Steampunk is fascinating as it looks back to the steam era and imagines a future work born of mechanics and clockwork. The images that are created as a fashion statement don't seek to hide difference but rather to enhance and make a feature of it.

So we move into a new time where jobs are still stuck in many cases much like in Victorian times even though technology has long moved on. We are capable of doing much more with less and yet we have people with disabilities trying to fit into a system that pretends to need traditional working habits of full time employment, even as the workforce is casualized and benefits denied to those who are willing and able to work full time and in fact would prefer that. At the same time, those who would like a more flexible arrangement are seen as being 'inferior' in some way from an employment point of view.

Instead of looking for differences from the norm, perhaps it is time to review what we consider to be "normal". The definition that we are using seems to me to be out of date and less than useful in the current environment.

Disabled, or not disabled the same things apply to us all.

We need to feel useful. We need to have something that satisfies our need for purposeful living. We need to be able earn money and to fit a life around our working hours.

We need encouragement when things don't go to plan. When life doesn't work out the way we hoped. Or when other stuff just gets in the way of us operating at full capacity.

Looking Forward

Do you need some encouragement?
Do you know someone else who could use some?

You probably do, though you may not have heard it from them.

We all need something to hope for. Something to push ourselves a little bit harder to achieve. Not because someone else expects it but because we do.

And that takes a certain amount of confidence to believe that we do - even though we may be less than perfect - deserve that.

Everyone is entitled to make some plans. Big plans, or small plans, it doesn't matter. Just put it out there in your future and set some memories of things that have not happened yet, that you want to reach.

Celebrate your difference.

Adding choices to life

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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Idea: A Quick & Dirty Business Review

Too Busy For A Proper Business Plan?

If you are like many business owners, you may be so rushed with filling orders, paying bills and getting through the day-to-day crises, that there is just no time to get organized, and put your thoughts down into a business plan, or even know quite where to start. 
If this sounds like you, then a Fast Business Review might be the way to begin your process of getting control of your business, fix those things that have been left undone that will bring the business fast benefits, and cut through some of the clutter that can turn up in a business, and prevent better results than you could be getting now.

Getting Started

To get started on your review, take a few minutes and think about your business and how it operates every day. Think about what issues come up time and again and cause problems, and think about the improvements that you may have considered making in some parts of the business. 
Now make a list of the things that you would like in the business to work better, stop irritating you or improve your financial position. Is cash-flow an issue for the business, or is something else holding you back?

Make your Wish List.
  1.     Things you’d like more of
  2.     Things you’d like less of

Look At Your Business Objectively

Your business has a need to operate efficiently across a range of areas in order to work as effectively (and profitably) as it may.  Very often, business owners start out in a business because they have a skill in one area, and may be very adept at performing that technical skill. Of course there are more responsibilities that need to happen for the business to run smoothly.   

A good business needs a Vision for what it is to become, so that everything that happens in the business can reflect that and move the business in the direction of fulfilling that ambition. Employees need to know what the owner has in mind, in order to buy-in and help deliver that end result.   

It needs sound financial management and effective marketing so as to drive new business, and great customer service to ensure repeat business and referrals to drive that cash-flow which is the engine of any business.  

A business needs good employees and good employees need good systems to follow, good management to inspire their loyalty, and good standards for delivery of product and services. 

In each area of your business


Financial Business Health


Customer Service

Service Delivery

Product & Service Standards

Information Technology

Employee Management

External Relationship Management

Procedures & Policies

Workplace Health & Safety
*Your business may have additional areas, EG Warehouse, Inventory management, Point of Sale, etc 

Write down the top 3 things in each section of the business you’d most like to change. 

Be sure to include all areas of the business. Be sure to include any items that are particularly prone to producing stress in the workplace for yourself, or friction with employees.


Write down the actions for each change that has to happen.
Write down the deadline for this to be finished.
Write down who is responsible for making this change happen.
Commit to this undertaking, no excuses.

Look At Your Strengths Objectively

As the business owner, the success of your business depends entirely on the quality of the decisions that you make. 

What are the strengths that you bring to the business?  What are those things within the business that only you can do? What are the things that you do in the business that someone else could do ... possibly better?

As the CEO of your own business, you understand that the needs of the business are separate from your needs as the Owner.  Some things that may be your preference may well be bad for the business. Understanding the clear boundaries here is critical. 

 If you'd like a copy of a form to use for a Quick & Dirty Business Review contact me and I'll send you one by email. 

Lindy Asimus
Business Coach
Mobile: 0403 365855

Australia's Marketing Mentor
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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Financial Planners - Social Media One Good Investment To Make Now

"The newest paradigm shift in financial planning 
is being driven by the emerging trans-generational wealth transfer
 - the largest in history."  

Some interesting numbers fell across my view this week, which should be of interest to any financial advisor.

These numbers from the US would probably be a close match for the experience in Australia too, though many US businesses are in front when it comes to client servicing standards by comparison.

  1. 2% of children inheriting stay with the parents' financial advisor
  2. With the death of their husbands, only 45% of women stay with the current financial advisor.

What does this mean for financial advisors? It's vital to learn to build strong relationships or risk losing out in the coming avalanche of inter-generational transfer of wealth that is about to unfold.

What we want from our financial advisors

Here's what one recent survey in the US found about clients' views on what's important to them. This is the response according to an article on Forbes

“The CFA Institute & Edelman Investor Trust Survey.”
The survey asked respondents which of the following factors was the most important to them in selecting an investment manager (while the question in the survey related to investment managers specifically, but I would argue that the results are relevant to advisors and other industry participants as well):
  • Trusted to act in my best interest – 35%
  • Ability to achieve high returns – 17%
  • Commitment to ethical conduct – 17%
  • Recommended by someone I trust – 15%
  • Compliance with industry best practices – 8%
  • Amount/structure of fees – 7%
By more than 2 to 1, more respondents felt that the most important thing to them in picking an investment partner is that they feel that they can be trusted to act in their best interest. Returns were less important, and fees were at the bottom of the list."
We can see from this that trust is a big factor for clients. That should come as no great surprise and yet if we look at the focus of activity in the financial services industry, there is little that is remarkable in service standards that would lead us to have any great trust in one firm over another.

Building relationships just doesn't seem to be a priority for financial planners and financial advisors, whose focus is often on rate of returns, fees and commissions.  To gain trust, matching priorities needs to be demonstrated.

Doing The Right Thing

From this we can see that ethics is important to clients. They want to feel that  they have placed their trust in someone whose behaviours they can reasonably expect will follow the client's best interests and that the advisor will be sufficiently in tune with their wishes and investment style to recommend products and strategies that take into account the wishes, capacity for financial resilience, temperament, aspirations, wider goals and the risk management needs of the client.

 What does ethical and professional financial expertise look like?

Financial advisors don't just need to  be professional and have high standards of ethical behaviour. They need a way to show that. How do customers know how this plays out in your business? How do their friends see that this is an important issue to you and how you run your financial planning business? It is in our actions that our values play out. It is the topics that interest us the standards we hold for ourselves, the public platform we develop to showcase these aspects of our professional and personal identity as well as the services standards that we set in place within the business.

Establishing Trust

We love to be really heard. Talking less and listening more is a good start. But it is not enough to just listen, we need to also carry that through to understanding how that fits into a broader context. So listening is not very useful if what we are told is not translated into the plan that is to be implemented.  This is an element of what we could call 'ecology' and should be consistent not just with the words spoken, but the beliefs and values behind the words. Listening is one step in the process. Clarifying and assuring you know what that means to the customer, is the next step to the really important end stage - understanding.

We Do Things Differently Now

While conservative establishments like financial planning companies have established ways that things get done, all of which are likely to be convenient for the financial houses,  not necessarily so for the customer.

Customers are not standing still. Technology is putting information as close as their fingertips and they don't want to hang around for yearly statements and feedback when they can now access other things they need in real time. The old business models will have to change and become more convenient and accessible for clients.  That's also key to streamlining processes and opening new means using technology to find additional touch points to stay in contact with clients, be of value to clients and establish your relationship with them as being a useful addition to their life.

Leveraging Time and Information To Create And Post Quality Content

Technology, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, blogs, instant message and SMS text services can all help to make life more simple and functional and save time for advisors and clients alike. Maintaining contact in the ways that are most beneficial and wanted by the client is also how you show that you have listened and heard what they want when it comes to how they want to work with you.

While some aspects of service can be automated and direct, when it comes to public methods for informing and educating around financial matters, this can be in your hands as the trusted advisor, for both clients and others in their network who could become clients in the future. But this can only happen if you have the means and have developed the resources necessary to be a visible as the credible expert and trusted industry authority.  When that happens you are placed well for them to turn to you as their first and most reliable source when it comes to matters of a financial and life planning nature.

Where To Start 

Begin with forgetting your assumptions about what you think you know about your clients. The chances are that what you think about your client base is not right. Those clients you think are your best clients may not be any more. And those "C" grade clients you have not seen for years - could be someone else's "A" grade client ... or will be in the future.
  • Begin with a good analysis and review of your client base. This cannot be just on fees, but needs to be assessed using a range of metrics that are objective and subjective and take into account the lifetime value of a customer to your business. 
  • Audit your current method of servicing customers
  •  Map the current servicing strategy in diagram form 
  • Check metrics on rate of business lost  
  • Identify bottlenecks in the service delivery area  
  • Quantify system for and metrics for new business acquisition   
  • Quantify lost business and system reporting method  
  • Diagram customer feedback system  
  • Review marketing plan

That's a good start. Each of these areas will take some digging to get the information you need to fully understand the present situation.

The next step from there on is to develop your plan what you want to achieve in the future term and how to go about proceeding to What Happens Next.

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Beware The Doghouse. A Christmas Message

This post comes as something of a Public Service message I think.

This video says in a few minutes what we could not say in a lifetime to our loved ones. For those with a partner who lacks the gift of comprehending social nuance, this is for you. For the sisters and mothers of people who lack this same skills set, please pass it on. To your young men, please pass it on. Fathers with sons... pass it on (but watch it first!).

A Happy Festive Season To All

And To All... A Good Night.

(Not In The Doghouse!)


Update: The Doghouse Sequel.

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Lindy Asimus
Design Business Engineering

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Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Working For Promises

It's an interesting world in which we live.Changes happening every day to the way we work, the way we get remunerated and the way we use media and technology.

While industries employ weasel language to talk about "flexibility in the workforce" what they mean is casual jobs and no benefits.  Contracts replace employment and many jobs lack the security of employment that can allow the person to plan ahead, borrow money and invest in a home. This group which is growing by the day has been called The Precariat - for the precarious financial situation in which they find themselves.

"Millions of people across the world, including many Australians, are living and working in economic and social insecurity, many in casual or short-term, low-paid jobs, with contracts they worry about. Their incomes fluctuate unpredictably, they lack benefits that most people used to take for granted.

No paid holidays, no sick leave, no subsidised training, no worthwhile pension to look forward to, and no assurance that if they lose their job they will be able to rely on state benefits or other assistance." - Guy Standing is the author of The Precariat - The New Dangerous Class (Bloomsbury) see more on that here in this article on The Drum

Naturally in such a world, retirement funding is up to the individual and we know from experience in Australia  prior to compulsory superannuation and in the US (where retirement benefits were changed in the 80's to allow employers to only match contributions from employees) that many people will not put enough money aside (nor be able to afford to) nor be able to retire since they will have few resources to depend on, aside perhaps from a windfall legacy when their parents die.

Similarly, the technical world is full of sage advice on the new paradigm and how people will be moving from job to job expressing their skills and running their career as "my personal business".  This is an attitude that we will have to cultivate but we're not there yet. 

Part of that techno wonder is the miracle of the start-up where people can be promised big bonuses when (If) 'the ship comes in' and the company gets bought out by a mega player. Meanwhile they can graft away on a subsistence pay - or work for basically nothing.  Since most start-ups are likely to fail, many will put in the time and at the end have a very expensive lesson to show for it. Some interesting perspective on this fact is outlined in this piece "Advice for US Entrepreneurs Who Move to Europe" on the difference between the US and Europe when it comes to start-ups. In Australia you can figure the conditions are most like Europe than the US. Bold highlight is mine.

"Another legal obligation that is very common in Europe and unheard of in the USA is state-mandated severance pay packages. This is a direct impediment to start ups, the reason being that most start ups fail and in the USA there is an understanding of this. In the USA employees demand stock options as upside should the start up succeed knowing that there will be no severance package should the start up fail." 

Then there is the virtual sweatshop model that is growing apace, where you contribute your writing, your creative pieces and don't get paid. Oh, yes you will benefit, you're told, by "all the exposure" you'll get.  Meanwhile if the business takes off and the owner sells it for a bundle, that's going in their pocket, but never yours. That exposure? Probably worth very little in real terms. 

Illustrators who have been working professionally for decades are struggling to find work. Where then will the work come from for all those following who are studying visual arts and joining the list of people looking for that creative work? Well there are sites that promote "Freelance" jobs - where you can pimp yourself out in competition with those in third world countries where $10 a day is possible to live on. 

Harlan Ellison is a very good and famous author who had something fabulous to say on this matter. He's 'paid his dues' and still yet the hucksters will try it on to get work free. Here's what he thought about that. 


So what is the way forward? 

It seems that the system in which we work will need to change to accommodate the new less-that-full-time workplace. Perhaps decoupling benefits from employment so that they accrue the same way that superannuation and retirement savings do, and are portable from job to job. A change in the way that banks approach lending for people in this new workforce and perhaps an additional payment made to those who are not regular employees.

It's definitely a topic that needs to be on the agenda for discussion because it is likely to affect every family, and living well in this new environment is going to depend on having a well considered and implemented plan to deal with the issues that pertain.

Working for promises? That's a mug's game. 
Don't be a mug. 


With the growth in social media platforms many have a huge following personally - but that doesn't translate into job offers or financial reward.

Like this article outlines...

"The restaurant was hosting Buzzfeed’s Golden Globes party. For the past two years, Ashley has been one of the most visible actresses on the company’s four YouTube channels, which altogether have about 17 million subscribers. ...
The awkward part was that Ashley wasn’t there to celebrate with Buzzfeed. She was there to serve them. Not realizing that her handful of weekly waitressing shifts at Eveleigh paid most of her bills, a coworker from the video production site asked Ashley if her serving tray was “a bit.” It was not.""
The disconnect between internet fame and financial security is hard to comprehend for both creators and fans. But it’s the crux of many mid-level web personalities’ lives. Take moderately successful YouTubers, for example. Connor Manning, an LGBT vlogger with 70,000 subscribers, was recognized six times selling memberships at the Baltimore Aquarium. Rosianna Halse Rojas, who has her own books and lifestyle channel and is also YouTube king John Green’s producing partner, has had people freak out at her TopMan register. Rachel Whitehurst, whose beauty and sexuality vlog has 160,000 subscribers, was forced to quit her job at Starbucks because fans memorized her schedule.
In other words: Many famous social media stars are too visible to have “real” jobs, but too broke not to."  Read the full story here: Famous and broke

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How To Get Your Local Business Found Online

Are you lousy at self promotion too? 

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Blogging: Try An Ideas Jar

Here's an idea to help you with saving ideas for writing posts for your blog or other online content.

I have a dozen ideas a day about a topic for a blog that comes as I am interacting with a client or reading an article or just listening to the radio.  Something will be said, and that will lead me into thinking about other things that are like that and suddenly, there's a topic to expand into a long form piece of writing to publish that could be useful for me to remember or revisit, and may be helpful or other people too.

So I'd scribble that down on a piece of paper.

But pieces of paper get lost, they get used for other notes, lost at the bottom of pile of paperwork and never make it to the publishing - which is where you could really use it.

Ideas Notes 

So I thought about a new system to try.  Here's how it goes.

I have printed some points to apply to each post to remind me what the thought was I want to write about.

In this case:

  • Idea (summary of what the blog post would be about)
  • Target audience (who it might interest)
  • Main Point (The primary take-away idea from the post that distills the whole message)
  • Category eg #productivity  #business #personaldevelopment  #marketing

So a template made with the questions, fits 3 per page, can then be printed off a few pages at a time and then cut into single idea notes to fill out on the run when the idea strikes.

I'll then fill out the details, fold them up and put them into a jar and there you have it. Part of the thinking is already done on the idea note. The topic and the context are clear and defining the main point makes it easier to then work out an image that will fit with the post.

Moving ideas out into their own space

I'm expecting that having the idea notes contained in the jar will help in two ways.

  1. The thoughts will be captured along with notes to remind me of the context so I understand the context for the idea when I then write the piece
  2. They are stored together safely in one space where they are easily accessible but can't get mixed up with unrelated notes, and 
  3. They will build up into a bank of quality topics that I intend to write about and kickstart the process when I am about to write a blog but don't have a particular topic burning right there and then that I want to write about. 

Other Ways To Use An Idea Jar

I think this idea can work well for creating a bank of ideas for writing blog posts as it allows the sed to germinate before writing and the ideas to percolate and mature before the writing stage. I'll update this post after I've tested it out a while. I like the idea of having a savings bank of ready-to-go starters to use for blogging. It's a little like cooking dinner - often the hardest part is working out what to have. 

This would also be a good system to use for planning and before you get to the formal stage of writing a plan for business, or a travel itinerary or even just setting goals for the future. Try some ideas in the jar and see if you still like them later when you revisit. The nice things about goals is that we can try them on and change them if we don't really care for them. Winnowing the ideas down to the goals that really matter to us before setting them fully and mapping them to our life plan means that when we do that we have tested them well and know they are a good fit and fully meet the criterion we have for being ecologically sound.   If using this jar idea for goals, maybe check out the cupboards or thrift store and buy a really special jar to use. One you can get your hand into and one that shows off your goal idea within. 

Great For The Not-So-Tidy Deskers

The jar idea is also perfect for those of us who don't have a desk that is completely clean and bare at all times. If your clutter tends to accumulate on the desk, this could be perfect for you to try too.


Cheat sheet to use for setting your goals

Coaching for executives who want more

Like to discuss your business?
Contact Lindy Asimus on 0403 365 855 or use the contact form on this page.

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