Promoting Change

Dr. Donna Galante speaks to writers about how she wrote her book.
Dr. Donna Galante appeared at the Sacramento Writers Who Mean Business to discuss how she came up with the idea to write It's All About Millimeters. She discussed with writers her ideas about taking small, incremental steps to get projects done. A point she eloquently made is that if you take each step, one at a time, you will achieve your goal. Almost every goal in life can be broken down into smaller steps. Small steps when put together into one big picture (especially if done daily) can make all of the difference to achieve a big goal. Tip: make it your mission to do ONE thing a day to achieve a goal. Just one thing -- that's all it takes. Then persist -- persistence is key.

Millimeter Survival Tips

If you're a business owner then you know the joys and perils involved. Your company's survival in the last few years has been based most likely on your ability to adjust. Business ebbs and flows, but the right attitude prevails when business does more ebbing than flowing. If you look around at the businesses still standing through the recession you will find they probably have one thing in common -- they survived through change. 
How do you survive through change? You change with it. Now you don't have to move away from your core business. You just have to "millimeter" it AKA tweak it. Let's give you an example. If you're selling high-end widgets to a market where the upper middle class is dwindling and the demand for high-end widgets diminishing then you just need a different widget. It's not that people don't need your widgets. They are now working on a different budget. So for your survival you have to reposition your widget and move your price point to meet market requirements. You might lose a little of your profit margin, but focus on selling different widgets with different price points. Find a way to sell widgets more direct so you can retain a greater percentage of your profits.
Millimeter thinkers don't think in "mile-high" thoughts. They take what they have and they tweak it to fit the current climate. Again, think about what businesses survived the Great Recession. How did they survive? Did they just change their widget or maybe even redirect their sales to a different part of the market that will still thriving?

Going with the Flow of Change

Being open to change is good. Sometimes if you're open to opportunities and exploring things will just fall into place. In business when you have a problem open yourself up to allowing the solution to come to you. Here is a brief case study. 
The assistant of a business had so many schedule conflicts, he was unable to get the job done. It wasn't that he did a bad job, but it wasn't a great job either. The business owner wasn't sure whether to fire him, but he was really great at certain parts of the job. One day the business owner was talking to another assistant. The conversation shifted, and the new assistant had solutions to every single one of the manager's problems. Right then the manager realized a solution had been presented. Did he let the first assistant go and replace him? The business owner decided to focus on the first assistant's strengths and move him to a new positions. Then the business owner seized the opportunity and grabbed the solution to hire the second manager -- everybody wins. 
The key is "millimeter" management. Being open to change the current situation without being drastic. Firing the first manager without a solution is drastic. Allowing a solution to present itself is "millimeter" management. Be open to take small steps that lead to bigger changes, and the rest will have a way of working out.

You Happen to Change

"Your life doesn't get better by chance, it gets better by change." ~ John Rohn

Nothing stays exactly the same. You can put something stagnant in a stagnant place and even at the molecular level it changes. Ironically while change is inevitable some people often fight it. Using my "millimeter" approach, it makes it easier to embrace change. When you think about putting an object down in a place, change goes on all around it even if it's at that molecular level. By embracing change and actually "guiding" (control is an illusion) you will feel empowered by it vs. afraid of it. Conscious choice. Conscious decisions. Conscious change toward improvement and betterment can liberate you. You're not letting change happen to you, you happen to change.
Notice when you're passive, you may also feel victimized. People do things to you. Events happen to you. But when you become the catalyst in your change; the center of your change; the mover of your world, you will feel a sense of strength. You no longer knee-jerk along. You decide. You do. My "millimeter" approach will help you. It doesn't require you to "do" overwhelming and big things. It asks you to put yourself in the driver seat one step at a time. It puts everything into perspective. Think of it. When you drive a car, do you just magically appear in the driver's seat? No, you do things to get in the car, turn over the ignition, hit the gas, etc. Millimeter change works the exact same way. And when you begin to see life in that perspective and how to empower and change your life that is makes it do-able -- and maybe even exciting!

What You Can Learn From Katherine Hepburn

I am an old movie buff and have very fond memories of hanging out with my mother watching Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, Betty Davis, Jimmy Stewart and other movie icons from the past.

I have always respected and admired Katherine Hepburn as a leading lady in the movie industry. She set the stage for many other female movie stars to succeed.  A very out-spoken individual who had clear and well-defined opinions about everything, she had a long career in Hollywood.  She garnered four Best Actress Awards in her 60 years on the big screen.
One of my favorite quotes from her is, “We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brother, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault.  But’s is always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.”

I love this quote and it goes perfectly with my “millimeter approach” to change.
It is so easy to blame everything and everybody for whatever isn’t working in our lives.  Change is hard, scary and intimidating. 

But it does not need to be when you approach the change with a “millimeter approach,”  those small, but significant steps toward your personal or business goals.
Why not stop the blaming and take a millimeter approach. Do just one small thing today to move forward to your goals of better health, weight loss, more customers, better relationships, more money and more success.  You can’t keep blaming your family, your teachers, the economy, our government or the weather.

Start today, a millimeter at a time and see how change can occur effortlessly and predictably. 

Ardent Admirers

“AA” stands for “Ardent Admirers” – and it is a goal of all millimeter businesses to ensure their customers, clients and patients are part of the club. Why should your business aspire, encourage staff, and set up programs to create your own AA membership club? To find the answer, let’s look at what advantages, opportunities and prosperity other millimeter businesses enjoy by developing their own AA membership club.

A millimeter business like this one understands the importance and necessity of having Ardent Admirers. These are the customers, clients and patients who love your business and refer their friends and family. These Ardent Admirers represent the 20 percent of your business that generates 80 percent of your referrals. They are the customers, clients and patients who forgive you even when you have a “millimeter” slip in your service or communication.

Just like the above example, Ardent Admirers are developed one at a time. Millimeter businesses know that they need to take care of each and every customer, like they are the only one they have. A millimeter business will go out of its way to make sure its communication with its customers is consistent and frequent. They understand that communication on a regular basis with real information is the key to building a strong AA membership.

How do millimeter businesses create Ardent Admirers?

They do it by making sure the millimeter things they do either with their service or product is done consistently and with passion. In the dental field, where I live, most patients are not that excited about getting crowns on their teeth. They realize they need a crown or else they could potentially lose the tooth, but the idea of a few hundred to thousands of dollars on a tooth repair is not nearly as exciting as getting a new pair of stilettos (for you ladies) or maybe a new golf club.

To read more about this, pick up a copy of my book It's All About Millimeters

Love Yourself, A Millimeter At A Time

Do you have this voice that pops up occasionally or maybe even daily that lets you know about all the things you are not doing, the things you could be doing differently, the things you failed at, and all the things you should have done?  Yikes!

I confess that this is unfortunately, for me, a common occurrence, and one that I have learned to overcome by using my “millimeter approach.”

Here are my tips for you:

1.     Love yourself.  I know this can be a tough one for some of us as we are constantly giving, giving and giving more and often taking a backseat to what we want and desire.  Try daily doing one thing for yourself.  Take a walk, get a massage or a pedicure, take 30 minutes to read your favorite novel in peace and quiet, or whatever it is that makes you feel most happy and refreshed.

2.     Journal.  Write down all the things you want to do, places you want to go, experiences you want to have, careers you want to pursue, money you want to make, everything and anything you want to achieve and experience in this lifetime.  Make sure not to edit anything in your journal.  Just write. Keeping adding to it.  Could be outlandish today, but five years from now you will be crossing it off as a done deal. 

3.     Tithe.  No matter how often we may feel things are not going well for us, or that deal did not come through, there are tens of thousands of people facing more serious situations including starvation, homelessness and illness.  No matter how small your bank account may be right now, commit to giving money to your favorite church or charity. Furthermore, find a cause you are passionate about and go volunteer in any way you can. I call this tithing your time. Even a “millimeter” of your time spent helping others, provides massive impact not only for those you are helping, but you too. 

Set a goal to launch these three strategies this month and see if that “nagging, depressing, demeaning voice” becomes less and less audible over time.

"Millimeter" Check Lists for Project Management

Do you make lists? Grocery lists? To-do lists? When working on a larger project, breaking down the steps makes it easier to manage and check off each step. "Millimeter" steps make any project manageable. How do you make a proper millimeter checklist? Work it backwards.
1. Think about the project finished.
2. Consider each step that would go toward finishing it.
3. Start making the checklist.
Working backwards to forwards ensures you consider each little step in-between. Let's use this blog, for example. You see the finished product -- a graphically designed and branded blog to match the book It's All About Millimeters. Now break it down. How did the graphics get done? How is the content provided? Where did the ideas for the content come from? Re-engineer the blog and you see it's all millimeter steps to not only create it but manage it.
1. Graphics mock-ups created
2. Graphics designed to match market brand
3. Content theme developed based on book
4. Content lists and ideas developed
5. Content written ahead of time to lists
6. Graphics approved
7. Site coded
8. Content pre-written and approved
9. Content uploaded on a near-daily basis
See how that works. Taking the big picture and breaking down the steps. In project management and business, checklists provide the framework and guide to the whole. As each step is completed, check it off. And here is an even bigger tip: celebrate! Don't forget to acknowledge and celebrate the "millimeter" wins. Satisfaction comes from recognizing you just did something great.

Turn a Negative into a Positive

Change goes both ways -- good and bad. Life works that way, too. Keeping a can-do "millimeter" mindset even when the change is negative means understanding that if something goes south, small efforts to move it north work, too.
When it comes to business, I have a quick tip on how to handle the difficult moments. Let's say you have clients or patients. A client suddenly decides to stop doing business. What is your attitude? Do you let it defeat you in a BIG way or do you have a "millimeter" attitude, which means one, small shift in your attitude to change your outlook. Do you want to hear a good one? It's small! It's simple! It's easy. One word: NEXT! Don't dwell. Move on. A client or customer quits, you just immediately focus on the one, simple next move. Don't get bogged down in disappointment or ask why? It would be good to ask the client why, listen to it, don't argue it, but realize that is their perspective. Take something you can use to improve, and then move on.