January 2020 – Something from Mary!

We are sliding into the new decade- the roaring twenties are back!

The new year, and in this case decade, always brings me to a place to contemplate ‘what did we do well and what could we have done better.’ Do you do this?

I have a couple of tools you might consider for your own analysis.

I learned from Steve Gasser, “Keep Stop Start” and have found this to be a great way to review aspects of a business. Will we keep or start doing this program? Do we need to start a program?

It is also an easy language for everyone to use in your business. It may seem simple, but we have found it to be very effective as staff evaluates programs, events, and services. Using it for specific products or product lines, service lines, territories or regions…. It has a host of opportunities for your specific industry.

Keep Stop Start also functions as a communication device when speaking with employees during evaluations or difficult conversations.

Now, you could SWOT it around. SWOT analysis goes deeper than Keep Stop Start. SWOT stands for Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats.

Strengths and Weakness are considered internal to the organization, while Opportunities and Threats are external. In an easy four-square-grid you and your team can map out and work through a SWOT analysis. You can do SWOT for several programs, services, products and then overlay the results to see what the common denominators are.

Again, a SWOT session is more in-depth; depending on what you are examining, you may find it helpful or more of a hindrance. Use what works best for you.

Engaging key stake holders…. Employees, into this conversation will do a couple of things. One: value add. Employees who are asked for their input are more engaged, and when they feel valued, they tend to stay.

Two: Many times, managers and owners do not know the ins and outs of a machine, program, or service like someone utilizing it on a regular basis. As a business owner or manager, ask those front-line workers what is and isn’t working. You will learn A LOT, and potentially save money, time, or customers by incorporating your staff in these conversations. Even if you are the owner and manager AND an operator…. Ask employees anyway. You may be very surprised at the responses you get.

If you have never done anything like this before with employees, here’s an idea for you. Along the left side of a post-it note, write Keep Stop Start, and hand it to your employee(s). Ask them to return that to you in two days with one thing they think your company should keep doing, one thing they think you should stop all together, and another thing that should be started. Give them time to think about it. You may find it to be VERY revealing, a great way to start conversations about the work environment, AND crazy enough, make your production increase as you find what is working and what might not be.

These are commonly used tools in all areas of business and you can feel confident in trying them with your business.

I pray you have a blessed 2020. Cheers to the New Year!

December 2019 – Something from Mary!

Change.

Yep…. We all have a relationship with this six-letter word; change.

Some people are open and welcoming to change: the beauty of the oncoming season, the newness of something novel, the opportunity to ride life’s rollercoaster.

Some people are completely opposite. They resist change in every way, shape, and form. Sometimes kicking and screaming, you’ve seen it. People’s perspective of change can make it feel unjust, unnecessary, or irrelevant.

I’ve heard it said before, and I say it myself, “people like to be part of change, but they don’t like when change happens to them.” There is a lot of truth to this.

In this season of change, here’s what it looks like for the chamber.

A new year coming up with a very large community project coming in 2020. The Main Street 2020 project lends itself to new ideas and opportunities* to help our businesses, but also will affect other programs and events which have been part of the chamber for a very long time.

*I like to consider challenges as opportunities. Upgrade. Improve. Shift.

But then came along a new staffing structure for the chamber. I’ve had the honor to work with incredible humans over the years, but it is now time to shift to a new model of staffing the chamber. This came out of necessity, but also as a surprise of sorts to me. The opportunity has come about…to Upgrade, Improve, and Shift. If I am going to talk the talk, I sure as heck will walk the walk.

 

Rachel Hollis, author and media mogul, recently got a wrist tattoo… ‘embrace the suck’ to remind herself of the yet undefined opportunities and blessings that come along with the suckiest of situations in life. So, if you are one of the many people who do not like change, this may be helpful. Or, you like to also complain, so my idea is stupid, has no merit, and was a waste of time.

But yet, here’s my hope for YOU:

The next time you find yourself amid the opportunities/challenges/changes of life, embrace the suck, hold your head up and walk through it. Right straight through it.

May the events of this past decade help you float into a fabulous 2020.

November 2019 – Something from Mary!

You get out of it what you put into it.

Much like your gym membership, your results from the chamber depend on if you USE the membership.

The Hutchinson Chamber has 330 members. Of these 330 businesses run by smart, respectable people, at least half just pay the invoice and let ‘er ride.

BUT,

WHAT IF YOU…….

  • Updated your webpage on our website

(Yes, as a chamber member you have a webpage on our website!)

  • Posted job openings on our website…. Included in your membership, through your webpage!
  • Posted your sales, events, press releases to your webpage
  • Brought in brochures and business cards for us to share with new residents and Visitors
  • Attended just one networking event, such as Business Connection in the morning or Business After Hours in the afternoon/early evening

You could Possibly……

  • Reach someone new who is searching online for your service or product
  • Show up quicker on a google search because of this listing.
  • Have a position filled because someone saw your listing on the website
  • Bring in new revenue from a new customer who just didn’t realize what you do or have
  • Provide the one thing that brings someone to Hutchinson feeling confident in their decision because they know you are here
  • Start a new business relationship with someone you met while networking and sharing your story

 

Or not.

You get out of it, what you put into it.

Everything I listed above is available to all chamber members, without additional costs or fees.

If you haven’t, perhaps you should let us know you’d like to know just one more thing about your membership, because ….. membership has its privileges.

10am-4pm Monday through Friday 320-587-5252 Give us a jingle, or email us at info@explorehutchinson.com

October 2019 – Something from Mary!

 

Here’s an Idea:

Let’s not wait until January 2nd to make changes, get in gear, or start something new.

Three months are left of 2019.

Chamber President Mary Hodson

Chamber President Mary Hodson

THREE MONTHS. 92 DAYS.

Let’s make them count by focusing on our updates now, starting today, October 1st.

So many times our tendency is to say “I’ll do that next week,” “I’ll start on Monday,” and don’t do a thing because we are too busy with the things right in front of us. These ‘things’ suck our energy away, leaving important items by the wayside.

This could be a change in diet or exercise, but it could also be an important book to read, manuals to update, or something else random, or otherwise significant. Wouldn’t it feel great to get to January 2, and say… I have that already done, or look at the progress made in three months.

I encourage you to look for three things to consider doing:

Something for you. Something that will make you feel good or better. Something that can help you achieve peace in your life.

Something at work. What have you been putting off,

or waiting for “the time”, or is really high importance but the urgency hasn’t been equally as high.

Finally, how about something for your fellow humans. Whether it is working with a community group, donation of time, talent or treasure, help for a neighbor, or a letter to a friend you haven’t communicated with for a while. Find something to help someone and/or bring them joy.

Now…. go out and make a difference, but remember, take care of you too!

September 2019 – Something From Mary!

CHANGE.

It is inevitable. Change will happen. Usually when you least expect it. Am I right?

This past month we’ve experienced change at the chamber- WELCOME JILL BARRALL as our new Membership Coordinator!

Many times change brings anxiety, frustration and opportunity. Wait, what? Opportunity?

YES friends, opportunity!

I’m telling you right now, every piece of anxiety-ridden, frustration-inducing change is an opportunity to update, improve, and evaluate your situation. And this is where I get all jacked up. The OPPORTUNITY to review what has been, what is and what could be…. The new, the improved, the innovative, the re-designed, the wholesale change, or maybe just a tweak.

As I have written here before, I hope you plan for the unexpected disaster, or the unexpected staff turn-over, but I hope for you the ability to take in the opportunity that may come from these or similar situations.

Now, let’s talk about planned change… building, growing, strategic, future minded conversations. If you want a voice, if you want to be part of the next few years of Hutchinson growth and opportunity; I am pleased to invite you to look at the Blandin Community Leadership Program. The opportunities are endless in Hutchinson, MN, and #MuchInHutch can grow substantially with your help.

I, along with Matt Jaunich, Hutchinson’s City Administrator, submitted an application for Hutchinson to be accepted into Blandin’s program. I am pleased to say we were accepted and are now in the recruitment stage of the process.

I could write another three hours about the benefits of Blandin and the incredible personal and professional opportunity it is to participate, but let’s face it, I do not have the time. Blandin can tell their story far better than I can. But here’s the quick facts:

  • Applications are being accepted through December 9th, 2019
  • All expenses are paid by Blandin Foundation
  • Retreat week is February 24-28, 2020
  • Three community workshop days follow this retreat week
  • Attendance is REQUIRED for all week and the workshops
  • Leadership Training, Personal Development and Team Building are included in the week
  • 24 people, 12 women and 12 men will be chosen to attend

If you are interested, use any of the links included in this article to go to Blandin’s website. Learn the Blandin Story- it’s pretty incredible, and look at the dates involved. If you can commit to the dates, please consider applying.

Again, you have until December 9th to apply, but that time will go quickly.

A selection committee will review all applications, and along with the Blandin Board make the final selections along with alternates for this program.

Change is good.

Change is constant.

Change is a catalyst.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead

2019 August – Something from Mary!

Hands Free, Free Time

As the Hands-Free law goes into place today, August 1st, 2019, I am thinking about the many times, we should put down our phones, not just in the vehicle while we are driving, and not just our phones need to be put down.

Gosh we live in a crazy world in which we now have an attention span that is less than a grass hopper’s. For some reason many of us need to be entertained at every curve… do you turn the channel or pick up your phone and scroll when a TV commercial comes on? Do you even realize you are doing that? Probably not.

How about today, you think intentionally about those moments of boredom-quiet-transitions between shows, waiting in line at the store, waiting for a client, and consider how you could use those fleeting moments to do something more productive…. Return a phone call, start your grocery list, make a work list of items you’d like to tackle, dust something- seriously… you can get a lot of dusting done during TV commercials, just sayin’- don’t judge. Make lunch for tomorrow, walk around the block, drink a glass of water, pick up the office or room you are in.

I say this as I am trying to be more intentional about my time. I run run run….. and then crash. I am trying to RUN less, and crash less, which leaves me with some quiet time. It’s amazing what a person can do when they are intentional about finding time for the things that matter, and removing the time wasters.

I hope you’ll do two things.

One, put your phone down while you are driving. It’s the law and by the way, I like you alive, healthy and not strapped with a heavy fine.

Two, put other distractions down and find the opportunities that you can see in front of you. You never know what great things can come from a little dusting, a quickly made list, or even sitting in your own solitude.

2019 July – Something from Mary!

thinkLOCAL… do YOU THINK LOCAL?
What a question? What does it mean to thinkLOCAL?

Before you purchase something online, or out of town, do you think about whether you can actually find it here in Hutchinson?
Do you consider the online options for local stores?
Do you ask businesses to donate to this, that, and the other thing?

Here’s food for thought:
You purchase something in Hutchinson for $100.
68% of that stays in Hutchinson. Wages, Services, Taxes, Donations.
Tax Revenue pays for FIRE, POLICE, Park & Rec, water treatment, waste water and so many services we take for granted every single day!

If you purchase that item in another community, you are giving them your money to pay for the same things in their community, not yours.

This applies to every purchase you make.

NOW, take your online ordering and switch it to online ordering for a business that has a brick and mortar in town and have it delivered to pick-up. THAT purchase and your money goes to OUR community to help pay wages, benefits and donations for your friends, family and neighbors HERE in Hutchinson.

Please consider your purchasing tendencies. What can you do to bring back some of what you spend BACK TO HUTCHINSON.

I know we can’t get everything here, but I bet there are many things you can. You can’t buy happiness, but shopping local is almost the same thing!

Join us for Crazy Days, SHOP LOCAL, SPEND LOCAL, have LOCAL FUN, and please thinkLOCAL!

To learn more about thinkLOCAL and the work of our committee, please go to our website. (link to thinkLOCAL page please)

2019 June – Something from Mary!

2019 Hutchinson Leadership Institute ClassWe asked the 30th class of the Hutchinson Leadership Institute what they would tell a future applicant about their experience or what to expect regarding the Hutchinson Leadership Institute.

Here are their answers:

• Do it! Well Worth it: I am amazed how much I am taking away.
• Throw any expectations out the window. The experience is so much more than training.
• Do It! It was an amazing experience where you learn about yourself and about others.
• Perfect way to learn about one’s self and the community, Just do the Class!
• A superb group of people, content and topics. Come in with an open mind and a happy heart and learn more about YOUR town, yourself, and how you can help and use both to help those around you.
• Lots of good lessons.
• Trust the process. Throw yourself into it. No holds barred, just do it. Trust. The. Process.
• Just do it, you will get more out of it than you give.
• Definitely worth it. You have a chance once a month to step back and be purposeful vs always getting caught up in daily chaos.
• Expect to reflect on yourself and who you are. If you dive in and are open to the experience, you will take away significant learning.
• It’s a really good way to learn about Hutchinson, gain friends and understand the community.
• Be open minded and be willing to let your guard down.
• You’ll learn skills that are useful for working with others.
• I would recommend to any one in the community. Learn more about what makes this city, Hutchinson, a community to have passion for.
• You will never regret the decision. You will learn so much about yourself, the community and others!
• Just do it! Expect to get and give a ton.
• Do it! It’s fun, great content, great networking, valuable professional development.
• Soak it all in and let yourself be vulnerable. Learn from those around you and make new friends while continuing to learn.
• It will be amazing, do not hesitate!
• This is a great idea, and you will learn a lot!
• This will help with communication and dives into how you see yourself. It helps you gain and better understanding and appreciation for the community.
• Expect to grow amazing relationships, and grow in ways you couldn’t imagine.

Applications for Leadership Institute and Leadership 2.0 are now available on our Hutchinson Leadership Institute and Leadership 2.0 page.

2019 May – Something from Mary!

Why does the Chamber have a golf tournament?

I am so glad you asked!

Golf is the summer sport taking you to lovely green courses filled with green plants, bringing people together for fun and also aggravates and brings humility to many.

A number of years ago the Chamber started the golf tournament as a fundraiser, which it still is today. Membership dues do not cover the expenses of running the chamber programs and services we provide our members. The board did not and does not want to raise dues significantly, so we fund raise. The golf themes came along shortly after this from suggestions from golfers.

A few years ago we added the “Staffed Hole” Sponsor- WOW! Everyone seems to really enjoy this addition. We have members who will not miss the opportunity to network with every golfer. With an easy $200 investment, most businesses easily justify the cost with the opportunity.

Now this year, mix the Staffed Holes with the theme of Tailgaiting… yes, we plan to have fun while we spend the day on the course, in the sun, light breeze, bev carts out…. Oh, yes, sorry, I was writing an article… back to it.

The amount of networking at our golf tournaments is substantial. See and be seen. Work actually does get done on the golf course. We’ve seen people meet for the first time, businesses have hired people they met, to-do list items get accomplished, and there is a lot to be said for a group of people out on the course on a beautiful day enjoying each other’s company.

So yes, we have fun at the golf tournament, and it is a lot of work to organize and run, but our members benefit from this is multiple ways. Programs and services are funded, networking, and deals are made. And, you all deserve a Monday afternoon off. So there is my added bonus/benefit…. We are so busy in the hustle and bustle of work, it’s great to hear from golfers “I needed this afternoon out of the office.” We all do, so please add July 22 to your calendar and join us at Oakdale Golf Club for a day of fundraising, networking, deal making, and FUN. We’ll have fun for certain; we’re tailgating! Your team can show their team spirit in any way you’d like.

See you in July!

2019 April – Something from Mary

Oh My Gosh!

Do you consider yourself a lifelong learner? I do. I hope you do.

As I write this, we just had the 6th of 8 sessions of Leadership 2.0 with Steve Gasser and Giant WorldWide. How does my mind implode each and every class?

‘How do I not know these things,’ or ‘how do I not recognize these things,’ or ‘HOLY COW, I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL NEXT MONTH,’ are all thoughts going through my gray matter when I walk out the door.

This spring we have a couple personal and professional development programs which you can plug in and LEARN more about YOU and YOUR TEAM.

I hope you make the time for yourself and your team to attend one or both I am sharing with you today.

April 12- 100X Leader Summit by Giant WorldWide

  • Crow River Winery
  • Morning event 8am-12pm
  • $49, includes book and light breakfast
  • Video stream, with personal contact and follow-up between sessions to help you take what you’ve heard and make it into an action plan.
  • Host: Steve Gasser, Senior Consultant, Giant WorldWide

May 10- LeaderCast

  • Crow River Winery
  • 8am-4pm
  • $100, includes Lunch and Materials
  • Live Video Stream from Atlanta
  • Emcees; Dr. Joe Hill and Mollie Terlinden

Looking Ahead – September 2019- May 2020

Hutchinson Leadership Institute, 31st year

  • $600, includes almost everything, but not the kitchen sink
  • 10 all-day sessions

Leadership 2.0, 2nd year

  • $600, includes tool kit and materials, light breakfast
  • 8 half day sessions