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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Improve your Leadership Skills to Improve your Bottom Line!

I have never had a problem being the boss of me.  It is  being the boss of  others that has caused me  turmoil over the years.   I don't like telling people what to do.  I have trouble delegating.  It is not my nature to follow a process.  Oh...and I hate conflict.  I avoid it at all costs.  Um...and I want everyone to like  me.  Yikes....not good qualities for a leader.

Fortunately, it is possible to learn how to be a better leader.  It hasn't been easy and it hasn't been fast, but I am slowly maturing into a half decent Boss Lady.  
Crafty Retail Rock Star Cynthia Deis, the creative force behind Ornamentea,wears her Boss Lady Pumps a bit more comfortably than me.  She laughed when asked if she  had a hard time making her expectations clear, noting that as the oldest of  three children and  a former middle school teacher, she has the ability to get you to do things you don't want to do.

Cynthia has a clear vision of what she wants for the business and she communicates that vision effectively.   For example,  she might poke a bit of fun at herself  by noting "I am not trying to be a Diva, but I am gonna be a Diva.  This is how I want it done."   Humor works--it takes the edge off.   She has almost thirty employees and knows that it is critical for everyone to be on the same page.  Accordingly,  there are monthly staff meetings which she describes as "raucous."    There is lots of laughter and silliness in the mix, providing a wonderful opportunity for bonding as well as education.

Cynthia has created a culture of "keeping busy" so there is not a whole lot of wasted time at Ornamentea.  She leads by example.   There is always something to do to reinforce the brand and her staff knows to do it!  Tidy the beads, clean the fingerprints off the glass bowl that is home to the Hershey Kisses, call a customer to touch base, etc. 

 DIY is only fun when it applies to crafting.  Successful leaders know that delegation is critical to growth and Cynthia is no exception.  There was a period in Ornamentea's infancy when she would take on a task more properly borne by an employee because she could complete the task in less time than it took to create a
process or fully explain the project to her staff.  I can certainly relate to that---  been there, done that, still have the tendency.  A refusal to delegate might be expedient for the moment, but it is almost always inefficient for the long term.  Ornamentea grew and Cynthia ran out of hours in the day.  She now entrusts people to do the things she has neither the time nor the inclination to do.  It takes focus --and more time than most small business owners have available-- to create a process for staff members to follow.  However, once you have a system in place it can be replicated again and again, saving you time in the long run.  Efficiency is a beautiful thing.

Employees are your ambassadors...make sure that they have the tools necessary to shine!   Classes are a big part of the Ornamentea brand, with 40 different class offerings each month.  Although her staff members are talented crafters, Cynthia recognizes that being a gifted artist does not necessarily guarantee an equal knack for teaching.   After all, a good teacher teaches, but a great teacher will INSPIRE.   Since Ornamentea is all about inspiration, Cynthia holds a "Teach the Teachers" retreat every year to ensure that her vision is shared by her team.

Moreover, Cynthia's employees are encouraged to take any class offered at the shop for free, insuring that everyone has broad expertise.  What a great way to keep the staff up to date on current trends and techniques!   She further promotes creativity by offering her staff a VERY generous discount.  Employees come into the shop wearing their killer creations and customers buy the product to make the same necklace.  It is a win-win.

The Take Away:  Channel your inner middle school teacher and do what you gotta do to become an effective leader.  Your business is counting on it!

Ready for a challenge?  Try our Fiber Earring Throw Down!  You can sew them, you can knit them, you can felt them, you can weave them, you can string them....technique is irrelevant.  They can be pierced or clip-on, dangling or post, flashy or demure.


Send me a picture of your fiberlicious creation on or before Monday, February 28, 2011!

You supply the ingredients and I will supply the prize---a fantastical, mouth watering, envy inducing box of Sparkling-N-Fibery Goodness with a retail value of  $150.   There will be prizes for the second and third place winners as well as a special gift for every participant who blogs about the challenge--just send me a link to your blog post to be included in the fun.   Help spread the crafty word!

I have been concentrating so heavily on crochet that I forgot how much I loved to felt!  I just finished the green cuff pictured at right, and have just pulled the components to complete the second in what is apparently my GREEN series.   I guess the lovely weather we are experiencing in Florida has me thinking of Spring.

My daughter and I foster rescue dogs.  The result of this volunteer work is that we have a tendency to adopt foster dogs.  DUH!  

Meet the newest member of our wacky family!   He is five months old and, until last week, his world was limited to a tiny crate.  He was a sweet, timid, cowering thing who has morphed into a rowdy, confident, perpetually dirty ball of furry fun.

We will never replace Rosie, but have found room in our hearts for this little guy.

Any suggestions for a name?


  1. mmmmmmmmMocha! It works for a dawg... they tend to respond to names ending in vowels better then other options.
    Actually this picture reminds me of my cat.... huh? Sometimes I call him cookie monster!

  2. Mocha is very cute! I will add it to the far we are considering Frisco, Scooter, and Oscar.

  3. Pink. Pinkser. Pinky if you like that vowel ending thing. Who cares he's a he? You get it when you look at him. He's cute!

  4. Andrea:
    He is definitely sporting a whole lot of pink around his right eye! Such a silly looking fellow.

  5. Pat, I love him! We named a kitten scooter, but when we call him, we call "scoooooooooteeer! He loves it!

    Patty Harrell

  6. Patty:
    I had to laugh when I read your post. We have silly little sayings for all of our critters. The words/tone seem to generate a "game on" response. Pets are a joyful addition to our lives, for sure!