Archive for August, 2010

Time to Relax

Easier Said Than Done

As a leader there are some weeks and decisions that are tougher than others. It’s part of the job. It’s not easy and if it were then anyone could fill the role.  Wanting to please everyone is a good goal but it’s not achievable (although I will continue to try).

Believing that most will understand  “it’s business, it’s not personal” is unrealistic since we are individuals with strong personalities and feelings.

So what does one do after one of those particularly tough weeks?

Les McKeown, Predictable Success Blog says:

Take the day off. You’re at your best when you’re fresh. You know it; everyone else knows it. So why are you ‘on’ 24/7? Rest, my friend. Your followers need it.

So that’s what I will do. Unplug and take the day off and re-energize.

Thanks Les, maybe now I will have time to read Predictable Success.


US Air Force Security Forces Officers

When I think of leadership I can’t help but think of the military forces and the leaders within each organization.

Last week I attended my son’s graduation from the Air Force Security Forces. The keynote was delivered by Retired General John P. Jumper, who served as the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force from 2001 – 2005. General Jumper delivered a moving speech to the graduating class on leadership. In his keynote the General said,  “You have been trained as leaders.  You will leave today with analog skills but you will live in a digital world. Don’t forget the importance of a good leader is to make direct contact with your team. Step away from the desk, email and digital communication and remember to look your team in the eye and shake their hands. Get to know them as individuals.  Let them know who you are. ”

It was obvious to the audience that General Jumper leads with passion and was an outstanding leader. He could have easily sent a written statement to be read to the class but he made the decision to deliver it himself. I watched him look his audience in the eye as he spoke making direct contact as though  he were talking to an audience of one.

I subscribe to many blogs on leadership. As I sat and listened to General Jumper I recalled a blog post by Randy Hall, CEO 4th Gear on “Management vs Leadership … or is it? In his post Randy commented that too often leaders believe in the idea they should “sit atop the organization and gaze upon it from a lofty perch where you make disconnected decisions and advance your own ideas.  That’s not leadership or management, that’s simply abuse of power.”

Randy’s definition of leadership is, ” causing individuals, organizations, or communities to achieve more of their potential in a positive, sustainable way.  When working from that perspective, someone who makes uninformed decisions from a detached position isn’t a leader, no matter what position he or she happens to hold.  Those decisions can’t cause the organization and the individuals who make it up to achieve more, and often result in actually hampering the success of the business.”

I don’t know if Randy ever met General Jumper but they share the same beliefs. After spending a weekend with my son (on the far left in the photograph) and his friends from training I am confident they have developed the personal leadership skills  that Randy and General Jumper believe are necessary to become successful leaders.

Wendy and Alan Crocker

COMPUTER EXPLORERS graduated another training class this week, Alan and Wendy Crocker of the UK. Prior to their arrival to their training in Texas they completed a pre-training with their corporate office and worked through a pre-training checklist we provide.

Buying a new franchise involves a great deal of investigating, planning and financial commitment. In my experience each new franchisee that arrives for training is filled with  excitement. On the very first day I watch reality set in when it’s time to execute. Excitement turns to nervousness and fear as the franchisees move from the exhilaration of “Wow, I bought a franchise” to “OMG, I bought a franchise!”

Each training group is different with unique personalities and previous work experiences. I am not alone when I say that in deed this training group was unique. Alan and Wendy came to us with a determination to be successful. This is not to say that previous new franchisees didn’t have the same determination but the Crocker’s went over and beyond their assigned pre-training requirements. They starting networking with other franchisees by observing classes, learning about the operation and anticipating training expectations. They worked through the pre-training assignments and learned as much as they could about the software and hardware that would be part of the offerings.

Our training includes the fundamentals of social technology. Our Operations Manager, Lorri Wyndham needed to revamp that session since the Crocker’s were tweeting about their purchase.Follow: @Croxuk Alan and I connected via LinkedIn and he  established a business Facebook prior to arriving! Please visit their page and “like” it. Linked here

It was wonderful to have new franchisees who did their due diligence by investigating, planning and making a strong commitment to be successful from day one.

Welcome Alan and Wendy Crocker to the franchise family!

Rebecca Parrent with Mitch Resnick, MIT

Recent press release  -Congratulations to COMPUTER EXPLORERS Franchisee of the Month of July

COMPUTER EXPLORERS (CE), an international company dedicated to children’s technology education, recently named Rebecca Parrent of Arvada, CO “Business Owner of the Month.” Parrent, one of nearly 100 CE business owners in the US and abroad, has been a CE owner for six years.

“Rebecca makes a difference every week in her community by facilitating developmentally-appropriate children’s technology learning experiences and by helping schools to integrate technology effectively,” said Deb Evans, President and CEO of COMPUTER EXPLORERS.

Parrent has been delivering instruction via uniquely training technology teachers in preschools, elementary schools and community sites in Denver. “I believe that computers and technology peripherals should be used as learning tools,” said Parrent. “Technology skills are fundamental in ensuring children’s future success; the employment of active discovery learning in the COMPUTER EXPLORERS program is an exciting way to build enthusiasm for using technology in creative ways.”

Ross Parrent presenting to franchisees

Parrent owns the business with her husband, Ross. As well as providing COMPUTER EXPLORERS’ innovative technology classes around the Denver area, they are also active in the area’s First LEGO League. “Rebecca is passionate about education in general and CE in particular. She implements fresh ideas and innovative practices sharing her expertise generously with fellow franchisees” said Evans.

For more information and to view videos of the programs offered by Parrent visit

Facebook Friends For Business

Facebook is a great social networking site to connect with friends and family. It’s also used for business development. Business pages are built to share company information and create awareness of their product or service. Many businesses will post events, specials, coupons, articles and interact with their community by answering questions.

Besides following and contributing to the COMPUTER EXPLORERS corporate page and Social Geek Radio the following is a sample of businesses  that I “Like” and suggest that you take a minute to visit and considering liking as well!

Arment Dietrich – Resource that focuses on communication via social technology

Data Doctors – Information about the newest tech tools and answers to your technology questions

Evolution of Communication – Discussions on digital marketing and communication

Fish Consulting – Resource for lead generation, crisis management and brand awareness

IFA – Shares franchising articles and information regarding upcoming franchising events

Jaclyn Croft Virtual Assistant – Provides tips to help you organize the virtual world

Likeable Media –  “Watch Me Wednesdays” videos with helpful social media tips and tricks

Saying It Social – Social media marketing tips and networking resource

The Business Makers Radio Show – Personal business stories from entrepreneurs

The Goddard School – Resource for parents and families on raising children today

Vistage Knowledge Center – Resources for leaders (book summaries, article, videos, etc)

What business pages do you “like” that I should add to my list?