Business “Almanac” for 2009

What would you put on your calendar if you had 12 months for a picture, a remembrance, a verse? I’ve reflected back on 2008 to share some once-a-month lessons for 2009!

JANUARY – PLAN, YOU CAN!

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In January last year I had 3 project proposals under client evaluation and I could have won any of them… or as it turned out ALL of them. They often say when it rains it pours, and it was snowing… So I spent several weeks in the Sierra Foothills planning precisely what, when and how I could manage to be in several places at the same time and deliver top quality while keeping my sanity.

Moral of January: A Plan in Hand lets you Expand

FEBRUARYDIVERSITY UNIVERSITY

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I love saving up all the year’s business cases as well as my own lessons learned to bring them to the Grenoble Graduate School of Business for the Management Consulting Tools and Processes course! In 2008 students were from Angola, Canada, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Serbia and the UK. Add up the countries where the students lived and worked and the international and cultural diversity of the group is impressive! Then create culturally diverse teams and give tough assignments, and watch the energy and ideas begin! 100% survival rate. I can’t wait to return next February!

Also in February, I went to Barcelona and spent several days interviewing more than 71 Telecom businesses from all over the world at the Mobile World Congress. The business shared some astoundingly diverse new product and service ideas, a world of creativity! At the end of each day my smile hurt, as did my feet… fortunately there were tapas!

Moral of February: Avoid Adversity, Embrace Diversity

MARCH – SHARE YOUR WISDOM

In March I had the opportunity to teach Interactive Marketing / Web 2.0

to a fantastic group of executives. I also had the opportunity of sharing my experiences in marketing in an advanced professional marketing module for masters students. It costs so little to be generous with your lessons learned. Wikipedia is still free after all. From new caves in second life to new models of sustainable development, a world of ideas is out there to explore and share.

Moral of March: He Who is Wise, Shares the Prize

APRIL – CHERISH THE HIGHS AND THE LOWS

April signals the end of snowboarding and not yet the beginning of hiking. Temperatures can be freezing or perfectly warm — rain, snow, sunshine and everything in between. In April, the intensity of teaching and traveling turned into writing reports and grading papers, then from working in front of a computer all day to working with a view of the ocean on the island of Maui….from studying databases to studying marine life face to face. Fluctuations are normal, enjoy them!

Moral of April: Establish your Missions and Respect the Transitions

MAY – TAKE THE 10000 FOOT VIEW

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You know that life’s not all that bad when your market research and PR work takes you up a few thousand feet… in this case high above Yosemite National Park. It sure was a lot easier getting to the top of “Half Dome” by airplane than it was years ago when I had to spend a day to climb up by cables. The view from the top is so different from the view from the valley. It’s great to change things up for different viewpoints.

Moral of May: Avoid the Subjective, get Perspective

JUNE – CONSERVE ENERGY

In June I was in a plane, train, bus, metro, taxi, working in Paris, in London and in Grenoble. It was one of those months that you avoid checking out your expenditure on one of those carbon footprint calculators. My only consolation was knowing that we were keeping eco neutral by growing biodiesel fuel back on the ranch. Clearly, there are times when there are a lot of things to do and places to be, and in those times it’s important to expend what is needed but conserve energy along the way.


Moral of June: Energy Saved is Well Behaved

JULY – FOCUS ON QUALITY

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A gorgeous view of a Parisian full moon captivated me one evening, so I quickly grabbed my point and shoot camera and clicked a perfectly awful shot (not pictured here). Then Stefano Candito simply showed me how to slow down, rest the camera on the bridge and slow the shutter speed – something I would have never done in my rush through life. Astounding quality results ensued.

Moral of July: Take the Time, Results Sublime

AUGUST – RESPECT MOTHER EARTH

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August in the Sierra Foothills was a month of tomatoes. Fortunately, not people throwing tomatoes at me, but rather tomatoes in sauce, tomatoes on the grill, canned tomatoes and dried tomatoes, a full Slow Food bounty from mother earth! But it wasn’t just the tomatoes that were abundant this year, peppers, aubergines, fruit and herbs, a veritable daily feast! Sometimes the compensation you receive from doesn’t come in the form of salary, it may be a bit sweeter… with seeds.

Moral of August: Perfectly grounded, harvest unbounded

SEPTEMBER – LISTENING IS THE SECRET TOOL

It seemed that I spent most of September talking: presenting to a team in London, leading a team in Germany, speaking to a team in Paris. Well at least that was the way it seemed because in fact I spent most of September listening. Just because I may find myself standing in the front of a projection of slides doesn’t mean I have to be the one doing all the talking. Sometimes the collective knowledge of a room of people can be harvested by actively listening to the various viewpoints in a group and simply publish them with a collaborative tool such as Google Docs. A pretty cool technique, though if you do end up trying active listening with a spouse or partner, I would leave off the publishing part…

Moral of September: To Help People Glisten, Just Give a Listen

OCTOBER – SMILE WITH THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU

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By the time October rolled around I had spent so much of the year on planes that I looked for emergency exits and tried to fasten my seat belt every time I sat in a chair. With all of the jetlag and disorientation I felt more influenced by altitude than attitude. It was a good lesson to remember happy daily attitude, especially with the people around you.

Moral of October: For Every Frequent Flyer Mile, Give a Friend a Great Big Smile

NOVEMBER – NETWORK

What happens when you open your eyes and ears to the ideas of friends and colleagues in your professional network? New projects and new opportunities! And for me, these opportunities abounded in November.

Networking isn’t just about what you can get, it’s also about what you can give, so think about some great people and projects you can promote such as:

Smartstops.net…contrary to their name, this company is GO. You heard it here, Chuck LeBeau is a financial genius.

And I dare you not to cry when you view the reel at Vine Street Pictures… I already KNOW the ending and I still cry each time I see it! There’s hope, there’s talent and the power of emotion…

Moral of November: For Those Whose Work you Greatly Respect, Spread the Word and Help Connect

DECEMBER – ACKNOWLEDGE

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I recently read a book, I think it was The Long Tail, that featured over 2 pages of acknowledgements at the end. I wondered who would ever read all those acknowledgements, and then I read them. And it got me thinking about how rarely we write down all our thanks and publish them. So I’m doing it.

Moral of December: When Given help to Actualize, Don’t Forget to Recognize

First and foremost thanks to all the folks at Central Sierra Connect, ATCAACETF, CASF, County ISPs and residents who are going to soon bring high speed internet and a working mobile phone to the underserved communities (including my office).

Thanks to all of the Management Consulting, Customer Intelligence and Interactive Marketing students who continue to challenge and inspire me, and continuously ask for endorsements. Special thanks to interactive marketing expert Siobhan Bulfin and Web 2.0 expert Andrea Alfieri for shared appreciation of SEO.

Grosses bises to the Grenoble Team plus Bruno and your neverending supply of coffee, sofas, computers, coffee, storage, sports equipment, rides, food, euros, friendship, laughter… did I mention coffee? Merci mes amis, je vous embrace!

Love to all of my family and friends for helping me solve problems and supporting my independence. Hey I did manage to get to San Diego, Chicago AND Hawaii Crosts all in one year!

Love to Team Colorado for helping me solve problems and supporting my independence and for pardoning my inability to manage to get to Colorado in a whole year.

Bravo and felicitations to Vincent for bringing home a gold AND a silver medal from Beijing!!!!

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Muchos gracias to team Barcelona (Mun and Sergi and Virginie) for an intense job well done!

Kudos to Amoks and HyperObjects for your e-finesse and 100% responsiveness.

Merci for the talent and hard work and patience of all the team at Venise in Paris (Lionel, Silvia, Jerzy, Marie-Agnes, Laurence, Barbra) for an exciting place to work (and sleep), fantastic challenge, and my first job as a top model.

Grazie Grazie to Team Italia who taught me a new language through the thrill of gelato, the delight of pasta, the rules of football and the true meaning of piccolo.

Thanks to the all the Chi-Towners who allowed me to reminisce, work, eat more “sensible portions” and celebrate the 4th in home town style.

Thanks to all of my 2008 enterprise clients for outstanding opportunities to collaborate and share business ideas over a teleconference, a drink, a meal, or a very large Oktoberfest pretzel.

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Thanks to VineStreetPictures, TwistStudios, SierraTrek photography and Ferme Gabert who graciously allowed me to exchangetheir business lessons with the masters students.

Thanks to all the team at Courtney for the miracles you perform to fight fires and the time you took away from airplanes and wrenches to build new business.

Thanks to volunteers at Craigslist Foundation, Taproot, Focus, Slow Food for sharing precious time for precious causes

Thanks to the impressive talent and energy of the SmartStops.net team and a brilliant solution to buy and hold…and the world economic crisis.

Thanks to San Francisco, Chicago, Maui, Paris, Grenoble, Barcelona, Montpellier, Frankfurt, Lyon, Amsterdam, London, Munich, D.C., Los Angeles, San Diego, Redding and the Central Sierra for allowing safe transportation, a home in your city for whatever length of time, and access to touch the lives of your precious people.

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