Author page: Laura Bechard

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5 Little Known Factors That Could Affect Your Results

I failed my first accounting midterm yet went on to make the Dean’s list and achieved academic awards, graduating as top graduate from one of Canada’s premiere MBA programs. How did I achieve those results? By believing that I could effect my dismal result through hard work: effort. My experiences impacted my beliefs My beliefs impacted my actions My actions contributed to my results My early school experiences led me to believe that I was “gifted” and had natural academic talent that didn’t require me to put much effort into my studies. Because I held these beliefs, I didn’t study effectively and failed the exam. I’m sure I wallowed in self pity for a few days, blaming the instructor for writing a bad test and likely second guessed whether I had what it took to complete the program. If I had a fixed mindset, this experience would very likely have…

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Work-Life Balance -What’s right for you? Balance. Blend or Harmony?

What’s Right for you? Balance. Blend or Harmony?

Many people, including me, have been searching for the “perfect” work-life balance. Just as often, I am also trying to influence my significant other to “fix” his work – life balance so we can invest more time together as a family. I’ve come to realize that for me, the solution lies in harmony rather than balance or blending work with home life. In our work with family businesses owners, the quest for the perfect work life balance is often at the crux of many of the challenges faced by couples. I’m curious about what works (or doesn’t work) for you. The Balancing Act The word, balance, implies that the solution lies in spending equal amount of time with “work” and “life” in order to get balance. It also assumes that balance is ideal – all areas need equal time. What images come to mind? I think about measuring/ weight scales…

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Learn to say no to the good so you can say yes to the best - John Maxwell.

6 Strategies For Saying No Without Being An Asshole

If you’re looking at an overwhelming “to do” list and trying to pack everything into your life, you’re not alone. Many entrepreneurs resist saying no to requests from customers, suppliers, family, friends or staff. Not wanting to disappoint anyone, the business owner sacrifices physical and mental health in the reckless pursuit of “yes”. You want to say, “no”, but you don’t want to be an asshole about it. It is okay to say “no”. In fact, it is essential that you say no to many good ideas so you can say “yes” to great ones. Saying “no” frees up time and space to not only say “yes”, but also to take action and reap results from the essential few things in life that really matter. Whether you’re reading these tips from a business, professional or personal perspective, they work across the board. In a family business, I find saying “no”…

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Are You Missing Out? 9 Vital Functions of The Family CEO

You don’t have to look very far to find tips and strategies to help build business leadership skills. When it comes to family businesses, the family CEO is often floundering, knowing that the role he/she plays is vital to combining family with business yet receiving little or no help in building the skills needed for the role or choosing strategies. This leader often works quietly behind the scenes and without him/her, families begin to drift apart. The family leader, often a parent in the first generation of the family business, has strong facilitation and communication skills, convinces people to work together, is capable of developing trust and really keeps it all together. When business and family leadership is passed to the next generation, the family leader role is also passed, generally to a sibling and thus, the role needs to adapt to a new model where siblings recognize and respect…

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Can We Talk? Communicating in business

Can We Talk?

Most of us are able to separate our working lives from our personal lives. We might socialize with people we meet at work but often our colleagues are not our siblings, cousins or parents who have known us all our lives. When you work with your family, that line is very blurry and it is not easy at all to separate work from personal. Open, honest communication can be scary. It takes intentional thought and skilled communicators to keep the peace – especially where there are conflicts. Families quickly learn that they make a lot of assumptions about each other. These assumptions are based on history and can often change a business conversation into a personal one, “You’ve been like that since you were a child!” In one family we studied, parents fell prey to attribution errors much more frequently with their children working in the business than with non-family…

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As a business owner, what are your Windsprints?

What are your Wind Sprints?

Serious athletes know that wind sprints are a key tactic for conditioning. A wind sprint occurs when an athlete runs (or skates) a short distance as quickly as possible and repeats the sprint several times. If you’ve played a sport requiring good cardio, chances are you included wind sprints in your training. What makes a wind sprint effective? You give it your all. Sure, you could accomplish the same task by just going through the motions and jogging the distance. You don’t because you know that you wouldn’t be able to execute on game day if you didn’t put the effort into wind sprints. As a business owner, your routines are your wind sprints. Are you working the routines to get the most impact for your business? Are your employees? Are there opportunities to improve routines by finding faster and better ways to accomplish the objective? You get success from…

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What Problem do you Want?

What Problem Do You Want?

Life’s never without a challenge or a problem. You have the opportunity to decide what problem you want whenever you are faced with trade offs. All of us make trade offs all the time. By saying “yes” to one choice, we are by default saying “no” to others, many of them good ideas or good actions. When you are in business with your family, saying “yes” to the family means saying “no” to the business. It’s all about balance. It is time to rebalance if you: feel your trade offs are getting you out of balance feel stuck or feel you’ve hit a plateau feel some distress in your personal relationships as a result of saying “no” to the family & “yes” to the business feel your health is being neglected, being told “no” too often feel unappreciated at home or in the business feel your significant other has his/her…

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Match Making – Unemployment and Entrepreneurship

Match Making – Unemployment and Entrepreneurship

Low oil prices and recent wildfires will have some individuals making decisions to move away from the Fort McMurray region. Some will see this as a benefit with sons and daughters returning home to take up residence. For many years, we’ve seen our Saskatchewan farm kids fly off to work in the Fort McMurray region. As a result, farm operators have worked longer hours and looked to temporary foreign worker programs and immigrant workers to fill staffing requirements. Many sold their operations when potential successors moved away with no intentions of returning to carry on the business. They may now be having regrets. No one has a crystal ball that shows an end to the economic downturn and the return to a stable job and financial market. Statistically the rates of entrepreneurship increase with higher unemployment rates. When People cannot rely on corporate jobs, they create their own job. While…

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Successful business with your spouse

Successful Business With Your Spouse

Successful marriage. Successful business. Neither happens without commitment, growth, resilience, grit and hard work. As I reflect on the value of the conversations we engaged in during our marriage preparation courses, I can’t help but wonder how useful a “business preparation” course would have been. My husband was in business when I met him. When we were married, I joined him in the business. As time went by, we invested and expanded the business and are now planning to pass the business to the next generation. In speaking with other business owners who are also married, it’s become apparent that many businesses that are owned and /or operated by spouses encounter challenges related to being married AND in business together.

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Why Don't We Give Each Other A Break

Why we Don’t Give Each Other a Break

Managers and supervisors often struggle to understand the motivation and rationale behind employee behaviours. When those managers also own the business, the fundamental attribution error often drives decisions rather than the effective habit of “seeking to understand”. Communication, team work and collaboration are significantly enhanced leading to improved productivity from team members when the fundamental attribution error is kept in check. Give someone a break today and be more benevolent. What is the fundamental attribution error? In essence, when we look for motivations behind behaviour, we, as humans, attribute the behaviour to an underlying reason. When we think about others, we tend to overestimate the impact of personal factors (traits, abilities, motives, etc.) and underestimate the situational factors. We do the opposite when we think of ourselves. I always have a good reason for my behaviour. The devil made me do it; however, you have a personality defect. If everyone…

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If you're like many children whose parents started a business or carried on a family business, you either want to jump in as a successor or you want to move as far away as you can from it.

My Sister. My Brother. My Friend. My Business Partner?

You think you know your sibling and that s/he knows you. You’ve already shared many common experiences that built trust. You’ve worked through conflict and know that your backgrounds, although different, were similar. You may think you can smoothly enter into a business relationship with your sibling with all the relationship protocols intact. Chances are you have no past experience in a business relationship with your sibling. There will be bumps along the way. “If you want to do really important things in life and big things in life, you can’t do anything by yourself. And your best teams are your friends and your siblings.” Deepak Chopra When you build a business with your sibling, you improve your success by being intentional about business topics. Talk about these five topics in your planning process. Come to agreement and play to both of your strengths. Write down your agreements! Don’t rush…

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Rethinking the Family Biz

If you’re lucky enough to have a business in the family, the local economic health might be prompting you to re-think your mindset about its value. If you’re like many children whose parents started a business or carried on a family business, you either want to jump in as a successor or you want to move as far away as you can from it. As layoff numbers mount, Albertans with family businesses are more resilient and see more opportunities to continue working than those who come from families of wage earners. They see opportunities to strengthen the business, perhaps through growth or through operational improvements. This is empowering! If you’re the founders of a family run business, you might be wondering how you get out of it, entice your children into it, retire, or sell it. This is a key learning moment to talk to your children, family members or…

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Leveraging Your Success