An Eye on the Present with a Glance to the Future

Some have said that 2020 is the “year of perfect vision” because when your vision is 20/20 you can see clearly. What are we seeing during this challenging year? We are seeing many things that make us distressed, hurt, anxious and upset. We fear for our health, our finances, our families, our neighborhoods. As faculty and administrators we are deeply concerned for our students. Our focus is on what is not happening (pandemic closures and restrictions) as well as what IS happening (civil unrest, injustice, racism). It makes for a confusing picture. We look toward our leaders to guide us through these difficult times. Some of those leaders are forthright and inspiring. Some seem to be more in disarray than we are. Everything is disrupted. In a recent conference keynote I spoke about how to cope with disruption. One of the things I mentioned was that during a storm at sea, ships lower a sea anchor that drags in the water to help keep the ship steady. What anchors can you use to stay steady in such volatile circumstances? A trusted advisor, a wise loyal friend, a role model, or mentor can help you find calm in the storm. Good…

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Business Hiatus — Good Idea or Bad?

Coming back from an enforced hiatus with my business I was musing about whether this was an opportunity or a setback. While there wasn’t much I could do about it at the time, worrying about it would have made things worse. Worry is never recommended. Most business owners have enough to worry about, without fretting about things over which they have no control. Going offline with one’s business can create additional problems — loss of mind share and market share as well, lag in keeping up with the competition, and an inability to figure out where to pick things back up. But sometimes an absence from the marketplace is a good thing. It can force you to become more innovative as you attempt to make up any lost ground. It may also give you a chance to recharge your batteries, so to speak. The caterpillar has to go into a cocoon in order to become a butterfly. Perhaps businesses need a time out now and then to morph into something more wonderful.

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Choose Customer Service

In today’s news, Metrolinx, the provincial agency that oversees transit planning in the Greater Toronto Area, stated that it was considering charging for parking at the GO Transit parking lots.  Publishing this possible action is a clever move — it allows them to gauge customer reaction and get feedback before taking any action. If you’re planning a major change to how you to do business, finding out what customers think about it ahead of time is a sound idea. As the comments to the news story show, customers are overwhelmingly against paying for parking at GO Transit lots. They feel they are already paying for parking in the price of the fare. Some have noted that ridership will go down as people seek to car pool instead of pay an additional $100 to $200 a month. Alternatively, some people will abandon public transit and drive their cars into the city, an activity GO Transit was designed to reduce. While the 65,000 parking spaces at GO Transit lots can rightly be seen as an untapped business asset, instituting a parking fee for those spaces will hurt business growth. Customers see it as “double-dipping” into their pockets, and have clearly expressed that…

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