Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

Because we’ve always done it this way!

May 29, 2014

organization change management, leading change, leadershipWe offered a webinar in partnership with Atlanta Technical College awhile ago entitled “Leading Change”.  Someone on Facebook asked what is “Leading Change”… what is that all about?

Well, here’s my response:

“Business leaders must be prepared for constant changes in its people, technology, information processing, communication, and competition.  A business may be experiencing pressures of natural changes or may want to plan for change in its:

  • people
    • culture
    • structure
    • relationships
  • technology
    • need for better systems
    • social media tools
  • information processing
    • data collection
    • order handling
  • communication 

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By Clovia Hamilton, MBA JD President of Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

(c) 2014. All Rights Reserved. Lemongrass Consulting Inc.



December 30, 2013

free business tips, training in business, Robert De Niro actor, Michelle Pfieffer, The Family movie, best Christmas movies, New Years movieI rarely get to sit still long enough to watch movies.  But, for Christmas, we bought “The Family” DVD from Walmart.  This movie features Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfieffer.  It’s a really, really funny movie about a gangster who is in the witness protection program.  If you haven’t seen this one, I highly recommend that you buy or rent it.

Robert De Niro plays the father and Michelle Pfieffer is his wife.  Well, the father decides to write his memoirs and outlines 10 rules he lives by.  If you following my blog articles, you know I love to cull business lessons out of movies.  I have written two (2) blog articles about lessons we can learn from The Godfather trilogy.   For fun, here are 10 business lessons we can learn from Robert De Niro’s character:

1. I don’t like to cause pain for no good reason because all of my sadistic urges are satisfied when I cause pain for a reason.

In business, there is no need or good reason to cause anybody pain (smile).  For example, there is no need to chase down your competitors’ clients and customers by pointing out negative things about your competition.  I have observed a lot of this ill will and bad behavior in the consulting arena.  Most of the people that behaved that way toward me in response to my entering the arena are now out of business.  Deliberately trying to hurt people in order to get work will rebound against you.

2. Anybody who doesn’t contradict me can expect nothing but good things from me.

This is actually a bad belief to embrace.  The best lessons you can learn will likely be from wise mentors and coaches that contradict what you believe and what you practice.  The good mentors and coaches will push you to think outside the box and to move outside your comfort zone.

3. When I ran the community, there was never a single robbery in the street.  People lived and slept easily.

Casting the mob boss role aside, it is indeed very important to be a part of the community and to try to make your community a better place.  Business owners can attend city council, county commission, and regional development meetings.  We can become active in civic groups like Civic Leagues, Rotary or Kiwanis.  We can also get active in church activities.

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By Clovia Hamilton, President

Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

10 More Business Lessons from the Godfather

November 29, 2013

business, business development, business strategy, entrepreneuralism, female entrepreneurs, leadership, women owned small business

Yesterday, I watched the Godfather movies for maybe the 50th time (smile).  Here are ten (10) business lessons I gleaned from the movies:

  1. If a prospective business partner behaves badly, hold-your-cool.  Be kind, shake his hand, compliment him, thank him, and be on your way.  Never lose your cool. Besides the Godfather, my favorite character is Tom Hagan.  He never lost his cool.
  2. Insist on hearing bad news immediately.  I’m guilty of not wanting to hear bad news or negative feedback.  It is best to hear it and act on it immediately.
  3. Never ask for a second favor is the first one is refused.
  4. Build a supportive business family around you.  Have folks on your team that are loyal and supportive.  If there is any inkling of disrespect, ill will, or backstabbing, then get rid of them quickly.  Hire slowly and fire fast.
  5. Only see business prospects if they are serious and respectful.  Otherwise, do not take the meeting.                                                      read more

Quicksand and Business Failure

July 21, 2013

failure of business, failure in business, overcoming fearOne of my favorite scenes in the movie Replacement Players is where the Quarterback Falco (played by Keanu Reeves) tells the team that his greatest performance fear is “quicksand”.  He says that he feels as though he’s in quicksand when everything is going fine; and then one thing goes wrong; and then another; and then another.  He says that you try to fight back, but the harder you fight, the deeper you sink until you cannot move.

Many entrepreneurs face paralysis.  They may have some active clients and work, but not enough to make ends meet.  They may get work but cannot perform due to lack of competence or the lack of physical manpower.  Falco describes quicksand as a situation where you cannot breathe because you are in over your head.

In the movie Replacement Players, Falco was accused falling apart and choking whenever the game was on the line.  His coach tells the team to face their fears and overcome them as a team.  He tells them they need hear t and they need to play like winners – – because winners always want the ball.

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By Clovia Hamilton, President of Lemongrass Consulting

Go out there and Catch the Ball in 2011!

January 2, 2011

I watched the movie “The Replacements” starring Gene Hackman and Keanu Reeves over the holidays for the millionth time. Gene played a football coach and Keanu Reeves played the scab quarterback leading a group of replacement football players during a strike. I do not watch much football, but I love this movie! I jotted down ten (10) things the coach shouted. These are all cheers leaders of organizations can use to rally the troops into the New Year.

1. “Go out there and catch the ball”
2. “Go wide – gotta have it – gotta have it”
3. “Leaders want the ball”
4. “Winners always want the ball”
5. “For leadership to work, the team must believe in each other”
6. “The Quarterback leads with heart”
7. “Play to win!”
8. “Put together a winning team”
9. “Play like there’s no tomorrow…that will make you very dangerous”
10. “Be part of something great….[because] greatness stays with you”

To succeed in business, you have to be able to catch deals – not fumble and drop them. To lead and win, you have to actually want deals and aggressively go after the work. I counsel small businesses in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center and I have met several business owners that do not submit bid proposals; do not go to networking events; and do not ask for appointments with buyers to pitch their products and services. Many expect that since they are start ups and small, or woman owned, or minority owned, then someone has an obligation to give them work. No, you have to get out into the field, run, jump, tackle and catch the ball.

Go wide is when a player moves to the outside edge of the field. In business, this would be analogous to going out of your way to avoid the competition to close a deal.

One rallying call that the coach made really ticked me off. He said “[losers] can’t shake off repercussions – that’s why girls don’t play the game….”what separates the winners from losers is getting back on that horse”.

I’m active in Nell Merlino’s Count Me In organization for Women’s Economic Independence and its Make Mine a Million (M3) program. I urge every small business woman owner who has not made it to the $1 Million mark yet to write $1Million on a sticky note and slap the sticky onto a football. Resolve to look at that football every day this year. Focus on that ball! Shake it off! This year is your year, so get back on that horse!

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at

Top 5 Leadership Lessons

October 19, 2010

This article reflects on my 27 year old career as an engineer, strategic planner, and attorney. It lists 5 traits of strong leaders that I have had the pleasure to work with.

(1) Be organized

One of the first lessons I learned was from Ronald Collins who led the Georgia Department of Transportation’s (GDOT) Materials Research Lab years ago. Ron taught me to act on it, file it, or trash it. That was in 1990. I still act on every piece of paper in this manner to this day. It keeps down clutter and chaos. Taking action simply entails making the decision to delegate it to others or respond to it yourself. The key is to not linger. You have to read it and make the decision as soon as it arrives in the mail or hits your desk.

(2) Help pre-professional buds grow into professional blossoms

Carl Spinks was one of the coolest cats I ever worked under. Carl led Statewide Planning at GDOT. Carl delegated program management and projects to his team members and he gave us our space. If we needed insight or help, he would be there for us. But, he let us do our thing. He did not micromanage, sweat us, or be-little anyone. He was always cool, calm and collected. I recall only one time that he got irate with me. I did not want to go present the status of the Transportation Enhancement Activities program. I shared management duties with another young lady. We were both pointing to each other, telling Carl that we each did not want to do it. Carl said we lacked discipline and we could both use some time in the military. Seeing him upset was enough for me to straighten up.

Carl allowed us to complete management training courses. Some of us attended graduate school in civil engineering or law. Continued education was supported and appreciated.

(3) Hold “everyone” accountable

In every organization, there are heavy producers and there are slack folks. I have always been a heavy producer. I can multi-task and wrap my brain around a myriad of different ideas and data simultaneously. It would upset me when others did not do the same. I worked under the direction of Fernando Costa at the City of Atlanta that on the one hand was extremely organized and seemed to hold folks accountable in staff meetings. He had a cool system of using sticky notes.

For example, we would have a staff meeting of functional area urban planners on Friday. On sticky notes, our director would list each of our tasks that we needed to accomplish during the week. If the task was complete, the sticky note would get balled up and tossed. If the task did not get completed he would inquire further.

While I loved this system, the truth was that not everyone was held accountable for their responsibilities. If someone routinely did not get their work done, eventually their work would end up on my desk. That was annoying and over time I felt burned out. We had an assistant director that gave me the questionable advice to slow down in getting work done so that it would appear that the director would not give me so much work. Wow! What a solution?! I resigned instead.

(4) Share the limelight

I think one of the worse things a leader can do is take all of the credit for program implementation, project completion, or events. If the leader has a team to lead, then the entire team should get the credit. Published photos should not be of the leader only. The photos should show the entire group and behind the scene action. All professionals want acknowledgment and recognition. After all, they are trying to establish themselves. Many deserve it.

(5) Have the ability to envision outcomes and guide others

To lead is to guide. You cannot guide or direct anyone if you are doing it all yourself. Here is a Webster’s Dictionary definition of lead: “To go with or ahead of so as to show the way”. If you do not have a clear vision or way, then you cannot lead. If you are not willing to walk alongside or ahead of your team members, then you cannot lead them.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at