Let’s make your business work better.
I’m Jan Richards, and I’m here to help you:
- Make your customers happier…and get you more of them
- Do so more predictably, more easily
- Make your business more profitable
- Make your business more fun to work in, and work with
Let’s start here:
Imagine a job, or a business that works just the way you’d like it to.
Now imagine all the good things you hoped your work life would bring you.
That may include a great income, perfectly challenging and satisfying work, great people to work for, and customers who love the work you do for them.
That’s what I want for you
I love helping people, and the teams they lead, to be more successful.
That’s been my focus as a business improvement and change management consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area for twenty + years now.
I’ve guided, mentored and trained many clients and teams, in both large and small companies, and in a variety of industries.
My work often starts when someone has become overwhelmed, and cannot see their way forward
Often when consulting clients and I started our work together, they had big goals…often VERY big goals…but the path forward was at best, uncertain.
Sometimes uncertainty grew from a role or project was completely new to them, even if they were excited about the assignment.
Other times, overwhelm was due to the fact that this was…even if they wanted to do the work and knew they would learn a lot from it…yet ANOTHER project piled on top of their already too-full workload.
And still other times, overwhelm grew out of the fact that the assignment was one they’d been drafted for…or dragged into…and did not want to do, but had to.
By the time our work was finished, my consulting clients had met their goals, and more likely, exceeded them
Often, they were surprised at what they could accomplish by the time our work was done.
I was not.
I knew they could meet or beat the goals they’d chosen, or had to take on, even though they did not know they “had it in them.”
(It’s ALWAYS fun for me when clients and customers discover that there’s much more they’re capable of which they had not known it before).
Many clients also developed new and valuable skills in the process, skills which helped them again in the future…and sometimes led to promotions, or new careers.
I’m putting great experience to work for you here, now
All my experience making clients more successful, in companies, both large and small, is going to work for you.
If you’re interested in some of the specifics, at Apple Computer, I was a financial analyst, operational analyst, and finance and administration quality manager.
As a National Baldrige Award Examiner for five years, I was part of teams evaluating national quality award applicants on paper, and in person. It was intense, challenging, fun in the way that intense team experiences can be.
I also have an MBA from UC Berkeley, where I focused on strategic planning and finance. I also have a B.S. from Iowa State, where I double-majored in journalism and business.
My love for making things work well began early in life
In fact, it’s almost part of my DNA.
My dear, sweet yet formidable, intelligent, hard-working stay-at-home mother taught me a love for fine craftsmanship, whether it was recognizing and appreciating it in others’ work, or producing it oneself.
She used to say, by the way, “Fun’s not fun until the work is done!”
I listened (mostly). And I thought about she said (quite a lot).
At some point, I realized that the work NEVER seemed to end. And so fun never really got its fair share of time, as I saw it, from the perspective of a kid.
My strategy became, “If the work must be done, I’m going to try to find a way to make it fun.”
That usually worked…and worked MUCH better than I expected.
That’s because, of course, that in the process of trying to make work more fun, I often turned it into a game.
And if it was work I had to do again (much like trying a recipe and perfecting it, learning from each attempt), I tried to beat my prior best…in time, quality, speed of learning and implementation, or some other way.
Work that works well produces better results…and it’s more fun, too
Think back to the best work you’ve ever done.
Now think about the best team you ever led, or the best team of which you were a part.
Wasn’t enjoying that work part of its success?
Fun, by the way, often means you met your biggest challenge…instead of doing what’s temporarily easier…running away from it
Sometimes (often) it’s a matter of facing down your biggest fears, and conquering them in the process.
Rather than running away (like you may want to), you take a deep breath. You muster your gumption and gusto. And you learn to trust yourself as you learn and experiment your way through.
Often, you find a way to meet…or to exceed your goal.
And in the process you are changed, and made stronger.
No longer stumped, stymied, or blocked by an insurmountable challenge, you’re also far more prepared to take on the next one.
For a recent example of the power of fun for individuals and a team, consider the Golden State Warriors, NBA Champions in 2015.
The team is comprised of highly talented individual players, who perform well on their own (some are already legendary). More than that, though, they play superbly as a team.
As they drove down the final stretch of the 2015 NBA Championship series, Warriors coaches asked the players, “Are we having fun?” If not, they knew they needed to adjust, and to relax into being able to playing their best, each and all.
“People often don’t dream big enough,” is an idea with which I heartily agree
From my dear, change-making dad, who calmly took on and made big and positive changes in people, teams and organizations he led, I heard such things as the importance of a shared vision and a common purpose, and the value of simple consistency and discipline in playing a change out, through thick and thin.
(There will be both – thick and thin – almost inevitably in any process of change).
I also learned the great satisfaction that can come from being part of, or creating and leading a successful team.
A few years ago, I was creating a seven-session online training class, one focused on taking an idea and turning that raw idea into a vision, strategy, plan, action, performance measures and results.
As I considered the resources I had to create the class, suddenly I realized that a leadership and team expert was in my midst…and had always been there.
“I should interview Dad!” I thought. “The things I’m teaching are things he always did well!”
I interviewed him by phone for an hour a week, for seven weeks. I took notes on a mind map on my computer as we talked.
Discussing visioning early in the sequence of interviews, I asked, “Do you think having a vision is important for a team, Dad?”
I’m not sure what I expected he would say, but without missing a beat he said, “Oh, definitely! I think most people don’t dream big enough!”
I grinned as I wrote down his answer, delighted to know he saw the value in a powerful vision, as well.
It’s where much success begins, and without which, much success never takes shape.
Let’s get you the success you want and deserve
Here are some of the ways I can help you now:
- Strategic Visioning class
- Implementation Coaching
- Sign up for my email list to get resources and ideas to help make your business work better
As always, if you have questions, requests, or ideas for me, you can use the contact form to reach out. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can, and often that will be within just a few hours.
I look forward to being in touch, and to helping you succeed, now and beyond!