Yesterday I had an opportunity to be interviewed by The Globe and Mail.
Great people to work with and a fun experience
Sometimes you wait so long in anticipation of something, it doesn’t seem real when the time arrives. I sit here at my desk with my Democratic Republic of Congo visa sitting in front of me. For the past twenty months we have been in the process of adopting a little boy from the Congo and the time is finally here.
We went through the long process of applying and waiting for a referral. After that it was the long process of waiting for our case to be seen in court for the official approval. Next it was onto the steps of getting his passport and visa. Then the process of immigration and citizenship.
Finally the time is here. Soon we will be headed to the airport to start the incredible journey to go pick him up. We are so excited and anxious.
It’s so difficult to explain how you can love someone so much that you have never even met before. But I can honestly say that I love this boy with all of my heart. From the very first picture I saw of him, I’ve felt a connection. So many people have told us that we are doing such a wonderful thing for this little boy. But the truth is, we are the ones that are blessed. This little boy is meant to be in our family and we are blessed to have him join us. He has big things ahead in his life, and we are going to be fortunate enough to be a part of it.
We will be traveling to Africa very soon to get our son. I’m so proud of what my daughter has done to raise money so that we can help out the orphanage when we get there. The generosity I have seen has been amazing. Check out her blog at www.MyJourneyToAfrica.com and if you would like to help her make some children very happy, click the “make a donation” button. Thank you!
I’ve dedicated a lot of my blog to our Education Planat Kodiak Mountain Stone. This week I want to thank all those who took the time to vote for us in the Alberta Venture and ATB Financial Small Business Superstars contest. Over 160 businesses were nominated for these awards and we were lucky enough to be chosen as one of the finalists in the HR Superstars category due to our Education Plan. Throughout October and November people voted online for who they thought were the most deserving of this award in each category and we (Kodiak Mountain Stone) were fortunate enough to be the winner in our category.
Please take a moment to read our story on the Alberta Venture Website: Kodiak Mountain Stone Education Plan
I’m very proud of our Education Plan and feel that even though it has been great so far, we can develop it into something much more than it already is.
If you are interested in finding out more about our Education Plan and how it might fit into your company, feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
One of my co-workers got me listening to the podcast of Michael Hyatt. I’ve really enjoyed some of the podcasts that I’ve had the opportunity to listen to.
Recently, that same co-worker sent me a link to an e-book from Michael Hyatt called, “Creating Your Personal Life Plan.” After reading through the book quickly I decided that it would be a good subject for one of our Kodiak Mountain Stone education meetings, and I would be the one to present it. As I was preparing for the meeting I felt that in order to present it with some meaning to our team I had better go through the process that is outlined in the book. That is when the book hit me in a different way.
In the beginning of the book he asks you to identify some of the most important constituents in your life. Then he wants you to write down the answer for each of them, “what will they say when I am dead?”
I didn’t think too much of this until I actually started to write how I hoped my spouse, my children, my friends and associates would think of me when I’m dead.
I not only suggest you go to Michael Hyatt’s website to find out how to get your own copy of the book, I suggest you go through the processes in the book and create your Personal Life Plan.
In the coming weeks I will be travelling to the DR Congo to pick up our son that we have adopted! My daughter has been working hard to raise enough money to travel with us to pick him up. She has achieved her goal to have enough money to pay for her trip, but now she has a more important goal.
We will be arriving at the orphanage near Christmas and she wants to be able to take gifts with us for the kids there at the orphanage. She has already started making blankets and has bought some mini-soccer balls. She wants to do as much as she can for them.
If you could support her in this it would be much appreciated by us and the beautiful little children at the orphanage that will be receiving the gifts.
Find out more at her blog: http://myjourneytoafrica.com/
In my previous blog posts I have talked about our Education Plan at Kodiak Mountain Stone. We have been fortunate enough to have gained some recognition from our program. Alberta Venture magazine has honored us as one of the finalist in The Small Business Superstars contest.
Our full story can be read at http://smallbusiness.albertaventure.com/?p=1679
We have had great support so far, but we are trailing in votes by a small margin after the first month of voting. Anyone and everyone is encouraged to vote until the closing of the contest at the end of November, 2012.
To vote you are asked to open an account, which consists of an email address and a password. At that point, Alberta Venture offers some great opportunities to receive content from them. But if you wish, you can also opt out of receiving any content. By voting, you can also have the opportunity to win tickets to the Business Person of the Year luncheon in January as well as the chance to win subscriptions to Alberta Venture magazine.
We would very much appreciate you support by voting for us. Thank you!
D. Jeff Heggie
One of our team members from our Calgary store hosted our most resent Education Plan Meeting. This team member hasn’t been with us for too long and this was his first opportunity to host one of our meetings. He did a great job!
This meeting was a little different than previous meetings that we have had. Most of our meetings are based on a book that the person has read. The meeting is used to discuss the thoughts and ideas in the book and how we can implement them in our company and in our lives. This time the topic of the meeting was from a video rather than a book.
The video was a Ted Talk from Simon Sinek and I strongly recommend watching it here:
I want to share some of our hosts notes from the meeting:
This was a great presentation with a great message. As I said earlier, I strongly recommend Simon’s video at the link provided above.
“Whether the want one or not, every company has a purpose – it rests in the priorities of the company, and effectively shapes the rules by which managers and employees decide what is most important in each unique situation…
…if an organization has a clear and compelling purpose, its impact and legacy can be extraordinary. The purpose of the company will serve as a beacon, focusing employees’ attention on what really matters. And that purpose will allow the company to outlive any one manager or employee.”
Clayton M. Christensen – How Will You Measure Your Life?
I was reading Clayton M. Christensen’s great book, How Will You Measure Your Life? the other day. I love the book and he has some great stuff in it. But there was one quote that really stood out to me and I love it:
“…the path to happiness in a relationship is not just about finding someone who you think is going to make you happy. Rather, the reverse is equally true: the path to happiness is about finding someone who you want to make happy, someone whose happiness is worth devoting yourself to.”
As I’ve previously mentioned, when I have a book that I really think is beneficial to my staff we often use it for more than one of our Education Plan meetings. One of those excellent books is Ken Blanchard’s, Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service. This is a book that I think is excellent for everyone. Whether you are working with the customers that are buying your product, or the customer you are serving is your boss, this book is full of great stuff. In one of our previous company education meetings one of our team members, Red, taught us about Raving Fans. One of the points he made that stuck out in my mind was:
“Once you have your vision of what you want and listen to your customers and find out what they want you need to DELIVER TO YOUR CUSTOMERS PLUS 1%” One percent may not sound like a lot, but if you are delivering to expectations, plus 1%, it is a lot. But DON’T PROMISE TOO MUCH TO GAIN CUSTOMERS AND THEN NOT MEET THEIR EXPECTATIONS!
It takes way too much time, money and effort setting up new clients to let it fall apart after the fact with poor follow up service. A great product cannot sustain a relationship. If you’ve built a relationship and don’t foster it once you have the customer, it will be a short term relationship. Once you have built the relationship, deliver what you’ve promised PLUS 1%.
One of the things that I (D. Jeff Heggie) like about being an entrepreneur and running my own company is that when you have an idea, you can implement it however you want.
I remember sitting in my office one morning reading the most recent business book that had been suggested to me. A while later my first employee of the day showed up to work and poked her head into my office to great me good morning. As I heard her footsteps coming down the hall I put my book away and began working on the project that was sitting on my desk. I’m the leader in my company, I need to set an example for everyone. They need to see me working every time they look in my office.
That was then. I had a meeting with my CFO (Dave) a short while later that changed my perspective on this situation. Yes, it’s still very important for me to be an example in my company. It’s still very important for my staff to see that I have a good work ethic, etc, etc. But the thing that made me question my actions was, “why am I hiding from my staff that I’m reading or studying material that will make me a better leader or improve our company is some other way?”
Dave is someone that I enjoy having meetings with. We work well together and we often look at things from different perspectives. So from our meetings we often come up with plans or solutions that are much better than either of the plans or solutions we each entered the meeting with individually. Dave is like me in the fact that he loves to continue learning. We love reading and/or listening to new materials and ideas. In this particular meeting I told Dave about the habit I had gotten into. The habit of coming to work early to spend time reading, but hiding my materials and rush to get my work in front of me as soon as I heard any staff coming down the hall each morning. I was constantly doing it, but it really wasn’t something I should have been ashamed of or trying to hide. That’s when Dave brought up Google’s 20% Rule. Google’s philosophy of giving their engineers one day per week (20% of their time) to work on projects that are not necessarily in their job descriptions. Why not use 20% of our time to learn and study?
That’s where Kodiak Mountain Stone’s Education Plan was born.
“One of our core values is that employees continually learn and improve. Employees at all levels should be encouraged to continually learn and improve themselves…
Our hope is that we are adding value to the lives of our employees through our Education Plan. Dave and I are both advocates of personal development and continued education. Our hope is that with this plan our team members will benefit in their professional lives at Kodiak Mountain Stone, but also that they will take things from what they learn to improve and benefit their personal lives away from work as well.
The part of the Plan that I really enjoy is our monthly Education Plan Meeting. Each month one of our team members will host a meeting that is focused around the current book or materials they have been studying. They will teach the rest of the team about the things they have learned that they feel will benefit the team professionally as well as the things they have learned that will help all of us in our personal lives.
Our meetings are great because we can learn so much from each other. We have had a number of meetings with Ken Blanchard’s book Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service as the topic. Each meeting has been great and each meeting has been given from a different perspective that has helped each one of us in customer service. I think that if you really want to learn something you need to teach someone else about it. When our team members know they will be teaching the rest of the team about the current book they are reading, they get a lot more out of it than they would if they were just reading it in their leisure time.
In this blog I will write about many things. I love being an entrepreneur and I love continued learning. So I’m sure many of my blog topics will be focused around those things. I think that our Education Plan is something that could benefit any company. If you have any questions about our education plan, please feel free to contact me for more information at jeff@KodiakMountain.com
Check out our reading list: HERE