Business Growth Newsletter #221: Working now, Empathy muscles, To-do lists

Sales and marketing Newsletter

Quick notes to help you grow your business in less time with less effort. . . sometime next week.

In this issue:

– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Techniques for FIT

  • Looking at this Techniques for FIT section of the newsletter (extra time on my hands) it’s now over 800+ tips. The first one, “Schedule your day around just a few priorities. Get them done and move on with a sense of accomplishment,” seems fitting for this pandemic age.
  • Each time the vision changes, give your leaders time to decide how they will react. They’ll either get on board, go away, or stay, but be bitter. Beware of the latter group.
  • Double down on how your people are doing their work right now. These days, making use of your self-identified strengths is more important than ever because day-to-day tasks are changing.
  • Under stress? Turn to art and music. Consume it, try your hand at creating it, share it with others. It can be high or low art, serious or lighthearted music. Let yourself be distracted.

Being Human – Exercising the empathy muscle

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato 

​​​ep104-chez-panisse_wide-NPR (image NPR)

In this “How I Built This” interview with Alice Waters, the chef behind Chez Panisse in the Bay area, considered to be the leader of the farm-to-table movement in the USA, says “I got a really powerful lesson about garbage from the guy who brought fish to the restaurant. . . he said, I want you to come out and see the dumpster. I went out and pulled it open (it didn’t smell very good) and he said, I want you to get in the dumpster. I want you to know what it feels like when you’re not careful about how you put garbage in this container. It was a big wake-up call for me.”

There’s a powerful leadership idea in there. She’s speaking of the power of empathy and when it comes to business growth, your people’s empathic powers can either magnify your team’s effort and results, or ensure no matter how hard you work, consistent results l remain elusive.

It’s a good time to think about building empathy in your people, or as I call it, exercise their empathetic muscles. Empathy isn’t something you’re born with, it’s something you learn. Knowing this, it’s something your people can get better at with practice.

Next week, ask your people to describe what their prospects and customers’ days are like this week compared to last week. What is different? What is the same? What new frustrations are they experiencing? What are they surprised about enjoying in their new workflow?

Watch for the drift into sympathy. You don’t want your people to feel your customers and prospects’ pain, you just want them to understand it. Acknowledge it. does a fine job of explaining the difference:

  • Sympathy is feeling compassion, sorrow, or pity for the hardships that another person encounters.
  • Empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of another, which is why actors often talk about it.

Developing empathy is a process, not an event. Don’t expect it to develop overnight. Do plan on visiting the subject consistently because you’ll eventually get through. Put yourself in your people’s shoes. It will help you, help them get better at using this powerful idea.

Random stuff

“Never put off till to-morrow what you can do day after to-morrow just as well.” Mark Twain


What kinds of things are you learning while hunkering down in your primary dwelling?

I spend a lot of time mentally listing and prioritizing tasks. Some of these tasks have been on my list for, well, a long time now. They range from fixing my website, to painting outdoor structures, like my house, to updating plumbing, or fixing the sunroof seal in my truck. It’s more like daydreaming than actual list making, but I’m doing a lot more of it lately.

Like this thing. It’s a small gift I received over the holidays and there’s a few things about it which bother me.


First, the hanging string is too long. It’s not the kind of ornament that makes it to the Christmas tree, so it’s taken up residence on a kitchen bulletin board. The string is too long for the board and blocks too many things.


This morning, the star pin was on the counter. I don’t know if it just fell out or if Baby Bianca the cat removed it overnight, but I know this, it’s too long. Sticks out too far. Just look at it.


At some point, if I’m going to keep this thing around, I should do some mods, you know, like people do. I could grab a couple of tools. Like the scissors that guy sold me, you know, the ones that can turn a penny into a corkscrew? Or maybe those red, needle nose pliers.


(Which reminds me, I haven’t tried to make a penny corkscrew myself, so I’m adding it to the list.) Anyway, I could use the big scissors but the pliers have that wire cutting thing in the middle. That will probably leave a sharper edge to my modded star pin. Sharp edge = better penetration of the corkboard.

Let’s look at that corkboard for a minute, though. The US map is only a quarter inch thick.


It’s cork on the front, but wood on the back. I can’t see through the glitter to be sure, but there can’t be more than an eight of an inch of cork for this star to stick into.

This might explain why the string comes out, too. The ornament has a little screw eye to hold the string and one side of the rope comes off at the slightest jostle.


You know what, one of these days I should:

  • Use the special scissors on the string, cutting it to an appropriate length,
  • Find a new position for the eye screw and carefully thread it into a new hole,
  • Clip the star pin to the appropriate length,
  • Sharpen the star pin for maximum adherence,
  • Re-hang it on the bulletin board,
  • Search for other pins I can stick in the ornament to note other places I’ve been. (Once I make a list of places I’ve been, of course. It’s on the list now too.)

Simple stuff. Anyway, this is what I think about in my self-isolation.


If you need to set up a time to visit, follow this link: