Goal Tracking

August 21, 2006 by  
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Last week I was interviewed by Patsi Krakoff and Denise Wakeman, the dynamic duo behind the Blog Squad. They asked me about creating, managing and achieving goals. 

Of course, I had to talk about Best Year Yet and why I think it’s absolutely the best goal achievement system I’ve ever found.

At the end of the call I promised to provide a link to the goal tracking worksheet I created. I call it the SMART Chart. It’s red-hot off the press!  Well, it’s not exactly red hot – I created it a few months ago for a newsletter where I’m a regular writer. It is pretty cool, though.

If you want to get a SMART Chart for yourself, then click on the hyperlink. Then, be sure to use the back button to return here to read about the other great tools shared on WindowSyl.

With summer nearly over and we are finally getting settled into our new home, I’ll soon be offering a series of teleseminars on Best Year Yet.  I’ll also be launching our new top-secret blended solutions for learning and coaching. If you’re interested, make sure you are subscribed to this blog.

Look to the top of the right column and subscribe with Feedblitz.  It’s easy, automatic and you’ll be the first to know when we fire up the launch pad.


Peek Inside Our NEW HOME

August 15, 2006 by  
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I recently discovered a very cool tool for creating slideshows.  It’s call SmileBox.  There’s a free version with banners ads.  A version without any ads at all is only $1.99 per slideshow.

Click on the link ==> Our New Home and see how it works. 


You’ll be looking at the home we bought in Scottsdale, Arizona.  We received the keys on August 11th, then immediately flew to Seattle to have our furniture loaded and delivered.  We are now in the process of settling in and enjoying the "spool". 


Are you realistic about prices?

June 20, 2006 by  
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We often read about how people undervalue themselves and underprice their services.  Well, when it comes to the housing market, the opposite is more often the case.

How emotions can fool us.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you know that we recently moved from Seattle to Phoenix.  What I haven’t mentioned is that the housing market exploded in Phoenix in the last couple of years.  Sellers’ greed and the thought of making quick money, along with buyers’ fears about not being able to get into the market, drove prices up. 4salebyowner_4

Developers moved in, bought "fixer-uppers" did some quick cosmetics changes and flipped the properties.  Many apartments buildings were "condo-ized" and renters had to look elsewhere for a place to live.  Not wanting to miss the boom, lots of people bought on speculation using "Interest Only" mortgages.

The frenzy of the summer of 2005 continued until the early Spring of 2006. What we’ve found are ridiculous prices and even more ridiculous descriptions of some of those *perfect* homes.

In May of 2005, there were 8,000 properties on the market in the greater Phoenix area.  Today there are 40,000 homes for sale and some have been on the market for more than 100 days.  Each weekend we diligently go to the Open Houses.  Sometimes we are the only people who’ve been there are all day and the agents (or homeowners) are eager to speak with us.

Even though the housing bubble in Phoenix has not burst, it has developed a leak.  So we are patient, we do the research and we keep looking.

What’s the Leadership Lesson to be learned from all of this?  Whether it’s pricing your products or services, deciding how much to pay your new employee, or how much you’ll pay for your own home, be realistic. Pay attention to market conditions and adjust accordingly.  If the salaries you offer are below your competitors you’ll lose employees.  If you pay blindly for anything without any type of comparison, how do you know if you are not paying too much?  That means keeping your emotions out of the mix and doing your research.

Fun Friday Stuff

June 9, 2006 by  
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The Evolution of Dance

This 6 minute video has been viewed more than 20,000,000 times (Yes! 20 million) in the last couple of months.  The guy shown in the video is a motivational speaker who talks about change.  And rather than just talk about change he decided to show it in action, i.e. dance over the past 50 years.   So, sit back, have a laugh and maybe even reminisce.

The Evolution of Dance (video)

Leadership Lesson: Life is short, have fun!

Re-calculating (that was easy)

May 29, 2006 by  
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For the past several days, my husband and I have spent a considerable amount of time with Liz Mulhern, a local Realtor.  Liz has been helping us find our dream home.

Gps Because Bob and I are new to the Phoenix area we decided to bring along my trusty GPS. The navigation voice I chose is an Australian female. I’ve nicknamed, “Sheila.” I’ve found the GPS incredibly helpful when I’m navigating this new locale and Sheila has become my new best friend.

I know I was hooked a couple of weeks ago, when I traveled to New York to meet with some clients.  I was totally dependent upon Sheila to help me find my way as I drove the New York freeways.

Yesterday we took Sheila along with us and Liz quickly became enamored with the GPS system, too.

The area we were searching in North Scottsdale has grown quickly since we lived here four years ago. When we relied on our instincts, we’d often take a wrong turn.

That’s when Sheila, in her ever-patient Aussie accent would immediately utter, “re-caaal-cu-lating”.

It was after yet another wrong term that Liz commented how great it would be, if in our lives, instead of saying something has gone wrong or that we’d made a mistake we could just say we are recalculating.

Think about it and the implications. Your employee makes a mistake and instead of becoming frustrated or angry with the person you just utter, “recalculating!”

Or, at some mid-point in your career you find it’s time to change direction. Yup – recalculating!

Sort of like a do-over button.

Easybutton_3After all, Staples has an easy button, why not a recalculating button?

Leadership Lesson: Even though life doesn’t not come with an easy button, why not have a recalculating option.

Blogwild! Small Business Book Hits Bookstores Today

April 6, 2006 by  
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Today’s the day! Andy Wibbels’ new book just came out:
Blogwild! A Guide for Small Business Blogging.

As part of the book launch promotion, if you purchase the book on April 6th through Amazon.com (only $12.97), Andy will give you $50 off your choice of Six Figure Blogging, Easy Bake Weblogs, RSS Essentials or Business Blog Basics.

This is a great opportunity to grab this hot new book as well as an online course to ensure your success. Buy the book now over at www.GOblogwild.com.

NOTE: This is an affiliate free zone! I don’t have any affiliate link attached to the site and I won’t get a kickback.  I’m just sharing this great information.

If it wasn’t for Andy sending me the advanced copy, I’d still be stuck rolling around in my little “round to it” and thinking I’d start a blog someday.

My Window on the World

April 5, 2006 by  
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Have you ever had one of those late night epiphanies that also gives you a jolt of inspiration?

Well, I had one last night.  I’d been “working” at brainstorming a new name for this blog. How’s that for any oxymoron: to put brainstorm and work in the same sentence?  It’s like saying. “I’m going to force you to be creative.”

Anyway, I digress.

Late last night I was thinking of my friend and fellow coach, Roberta Hill.  Roberta is a Canadian who is living in Geneva for the next couple of years. She has a number of websites and blogs where she stays connected to people and shares her enormous wealth of knowledge about assessments. One of her blogs, Raising Hill is a fun play on words.

I’d tried thinking of something short and sweet for a name for this site. If you’ve read my previous post about how people spell my name wrong, you’ll know why this has been bugging me. I do have a very long name domain name that’s the same name as of the book I’m writing (more about the book soon).

I tried different combinations of business, leadership, and even business and leadership together.  Nothing.

And then a small voice in my head said “window sill with a y”  WindowSyl Yup!

So that’s the new name of my writing home, http://WindowSyl.com.  It’s easy to remember: Syl’s view on the world.  And if the window is closed do I see my own reflection?  Hmmm.

Lessons in Business & Leadership:
1) While you can’t force an idea, it’s okay to give it a bit of a nudge.
2)  Keep a pad of paper and pen by your bed. Or, a waterproof marker-board and pen in the shower. Sometimes great ideas can’t wait until you wake up or dry off.

The Name You Should Never, Ever, Call Me!

March 30, 2006 by  
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It happened again today, I sent out an e-mail to the people on my distribution list and signed my name.  Well, actually I abbreviated my name to S-y-l.

I’ve been abbreviating my name from Sylva to Syl for quite a while.  All I want is for people to recognize the correct pronunciation and spelling of my name. Get rid of the i.

Anyway, I sent out the e-mail and the replies started coming back to me.  They were great e-mails full of insightful comments and ideas I hadn’t thought of before.  And who were they addressed to?  Sylvia!  Uurghghg

How is anyone going to find me if, instead of typing in http://sylvaleduc.com they type in http://sylvialeduc.com.  Actually, that’s the easy part because all I had to do was buy the extra domain name, along with http://sylleduc.com and syleduc.com.  then forward them all to this domain.

While it’s a nuisance at least people will be able find me and I won’t get e-mails asking why they can’t find the site.

Now if i can just figure out how to get the cashiers at Safeway to stop calling me Sylvia Le Duck Ducky_1

Do you have any unusual name?  Do you consider it a blessing or a curse?

Lesson in Leadership: Be careful with people’s names. If you are a leader in an organization learn the names of your people and learn how to pronounce each name correctly. 

Business Lesson:
1) If you blow the prospective client’s/customer’s name, then you many have blown the deal.  Pay attention!
2) If you think people will spell your name or your company’s name wrong, then just buy the domain name(s) with the other spellings and have them forwarded to the right place.

Our new site

March 27, 2006 by  
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If you recently received my invitation to visit this site, you may be wondering what’s this all about.  It’s our new site!!

Allow me a moment to explain. Last year, my theme/focus was
Thrive in 2005” and I did.  In a BIG Way!

In 2005, my software company, Client Compass, was acquired by John Wiley & Sons (the international book publishing house). My Coaches Tool Box reached the maximum number and I closed membership. I’d also closed membership in the Coaches Marketing Series after I sold Client Compass.

Last year I began shifting my coaching business from Turning Point NW to Sage Leaders Inc.  Turning Point was registered as an LLC in 2000 when I set up my coaching/consulting business.  As my business grew it was too regional and narrow in focus.  The challenge is that it had, and still has, high hit rates when people search the internet for coaching, leadership development, teambuilding or assessments.

Of course, each of the five businesses also had/has their own e-mail address so that I could differentiate who was contacting me and for what purpose: software, coaching tools, marketing interviews, assessments, teambuilding or for my coaching services.

Here’s something else. As an Executive Coach with the Ken Blanchard Companies, my clients only know about me through that company.  I don’t have a separate e-mail address so they’d receive communication from me from the variety of e-mail addresses.

Then, a coaching business in the UK, 24/7Coaching, asked me to be the Senior Editor & Writer for their Corporate Newsletter, News You Can Use 24/7. That meant another e-mail address.

Oh yeah, one more big thing:in the fall of 2005, I bought a Best Year Yet franchise business. Best Year Yet is a unique blend of strategic planning (for a business or for an individual) which is then complemented by ongoing coaching and consulting for a year (for achieving the goals), and it has a powerful and easy-to-use online tracking system.

I love how Best Year Yet helps clients be successful.

Of course, buying the franchise meant another identity and a Best Year Yet e-mail address.  I spent a considerable amount of time and expense going through a rebranding process to incorporate the franchise with my other businesses.  We came with what I thought was a very cool identity, Benego Business Solutions.

Bene = good
Go = short for goals
Good Goals

But that name had it’s own unique problems, as I soon discovered when people didn’t know how to pronounce it, Benego would be spelled wrong, and they couldn’t find the website or e-mails didn’t get through to me. Someone even joked about Benego being a laxative.

I remembered a domain name I’d registered called Desktop Goals.  It’s not a very sexy name, but it is self explanatory.  So, a couple of days before the end of 2005 I created the new site for Desktop Goals.

Access all the FREE stuff I like to give away at Desktop Goals.

Resources like the FREE Personal Best Year Yet Online Workshop, special reports, white papers, a client self assessment, a mini-course on achieving your goals.  Lot’s of great stuff.

It’s also a site where you can access your Best Year Yet goals directly from your desktop/computer, and Results Newsletter.

This time, though, I wisely did NOT set up another new e-mail address. Since Desktop Goals also resides on the Best Year Yet site, I am now using a Best Year Yet e-mail address.

Does this mean I am abandoning The Leadership Center?

No, it means I am consolidating and simplifying.

There are complications with www.TheLeadershipCenter.com because of another site called www.LeadershipCenter.com.  Sometimes people send e-mails to “the other place” which never get through to me.

The Leadership Center is for leadership coaching & consulting, training, assessments, teambuilding and all the other work I do with clients.  Eventually The Leadership Center may be absorbed by Desktop Goals, or perhaps one single identity will emerge to align both businesses.

For 2006, my theme/focus is “Elegant Simplicity.

At the end of 2005, Richard (a former client & now friend) jokingly asked me, “What’s your company’s name this week?”

And in January 2006, my friend Samm, sent an e-mail asking, “So just how many e-mail addresses DO you have?” I counted them and between my current and old businesses, the new business identities I’d tried on in 2005 and my 10 year old web e-mail address, I have — are you ready? — NINE e-mail addresses! Remember, that didn’t even include an e-mail address for Desktop Goals.

Phew!  My head is spinning with all the business identities, websites, and e-mail addresses.

Think about how confusing is it for my family, friends, clients and other coaches to figure out which business I am in and how to contact me?

I told my good friend, Vikki Brock about the complication and confusion and my theme for 2006.  Her remarkably simple solution was this: create one site where everyone can find out about the projects I am working on, where my writing can be found, my strategic alliances, products, the different websites I create (I LOVE designing websites) and other things I’m doing.

Another friend, Patsi Krakoff, renowned for helping people set up blogs, has been urging me to create my own blog.  I’ve resisted for a long time, saying I don’t have the inclination or the time to write a blog.

Well, guess what? I decided it’s finally time, and I created, www.SylvaLeduc.com knowing I’d turn this into a blog. This is where you find my thoughts about leadership development and small business.

So anytime you want to know what I’m up to, just bookmark this site, and stop by occasionally.

To reach me, my e-mail address is syl.leduc@bestyearyet.com

If you send an e-mail to any of my old e-mail addresses, they’ll still get through to me.  I discovered a software program that will allow me to redirect all the old e-mail addresses.

We're Arizona Bound

March 17, 2006 by  
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Today we received notification that the transfer that Bob (my husband) requested was approved.  He is replacing someone who is retiring in Phoenix.

After 28 days of solid rain in January, followed by one cloudy day, there was another month or so of rain.  We’d had it!  We were leaving Seattle.

First stop was LA when Bob was offered a position in the Irvine office. BUT, between the price of housing and the traffic we decided that LA was not for us.

So we we kept planning and talking, talking and planning.  When Bob was asked if he’d like to interview for the job in Phoenix, he/we didn’t hesitate and jumped right in with an exuberant, YES!

We both flew to Phoenix.  If nothing else, we knew it would be great to spend a couple of days in the sun drying out. His interview went well and then the wait began. We waited nearly two weeks. I had flown to San Diego for a business trip and when Bob picked me up this evening, there was a bouquet of flowers in the car.  "Did you really want to move to Phoenix?" he asked. From the crestfallen look on his face I was ready for the bad news.

Then he laughed and said, "We’re moving! I got the job."

So here it is Saint Patrick’s Day and not even green beer. Who cares?  We’re goin’ to Disneyland Phoenix!

We’ve started the six week countdown to pack up, find a new home, wrap up business here and start this next chapter in our lives and in my business. 

Lesson Learned: Make a plan.  Earlier this year I did my own a Best Year Yet plan. It’s something I’ve now done for three years. Each year, in my plan, I’m clear about what I want to have happen during year. And each year it’s been my best year yet.  It’s not magic and not everything comes through exactly the way I want it.  At the same time I accomplish more, at lot more, than if I’d just let the days and the year slip by. 

Make Your Own Plan: You can create your own Best Year Yet plan at www.DesktopGoals.com  Just remember to enter my partner code 279 and it’s free!

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