GUEST BLOG, Leading with Lollipops by Nicci Richman

We’ve had a few weeks off from our guest blog, but today we happily bring it back with a post by Nicci Richman from Limespring…Thanks Nicci!

Leading with Lollipops

I’m sitting in a Hobart hospital beside my terminally ill father while he sleeps.  I’ve promised him I won’t talk (for those who know me, this is a tough ask!).  This is my chance to sit quietly, work on my business, and be here just in case he needs me.

I’m considering that this is a timely reminder of what life is about – not how much money we make, how powerful we are, how many “things” we have – but this- what we mean to other people, what differences we have made to others, how much we love and are loved.

I’m reminded of a TED talk by Drew Dudley entitled “Leading with Lollipops” that I refer to when delivering management training.  Drew tells a story of a young woman who approached him to say what a difference he had made when he handed her a lollipop, and how his words at that time had a huge impact on her.  He had no recollection of the moment the girl described, yet to her, it steered the course of her future decisions and happiness – and she would always remember him.

As owners of small businesses, the amount of things to be done is overwhelming.  As the E-myth (Michael E.Gerber) tells us, we are Entrepreneurs, Technicians and Managers.   Throw into that the concept of being a strong and effective “People” manager and it can begin to feel all too hard – there’s little time for performance reviews, setting goals, learning what motivates our staff – we all just need to get the job done.

Well, the good news is that there are tiny things we can do, just by being ourselves, that will make a difference.  It’s in the words we say to our staff, the praise, noticing the little things, having faith in them, giving them new challenges, and expressing confidence in their abilities. If this isn’t something that comes naturally to you, take a leaf out of the book of one manager I know who sets a daily calendar reminder to express sincere gratitude to someone in her team.

My dad is an entrepreneur – a small business owner who achieved some great successes and experienced his fair share of failures.  He has made mistakes (and paid dearly for them) but through everything he has maintained his optimism, his faith in others and his belief in their talents – he has helped others to find their feet and to fly.  Because of this, when his time does come, there will be many people around who will share their stories of how dad made a positive difference to their lives in the words he said and the encouragement he gave.

This quiet time beside dad’s bed gives me a chance to remember why I started my own business – to do what I’m passionate about, in my unique way, and to make a fundamental difference to other people and their experiences.

Only four more sleeps before I return to Newcastle – the mother in me can’t wait to see my girls again.  The daughter in me never wants to leave my mum and dad.  Soon, I’ll be back working in my business with a renewed focus.  Like dad, I plan to create lollipop moments.

By Nicci Richman

Nicci Richman is the Principal Consultant at Limespring – a boutique HR consultancy which focuses on making HR easier for Small and Medium businesses.  

Limespring offers accessible and flexible solutions, which include:

  • The HR Helpkit (a DIY kit providing checklists, contracts of employment and key policies to ensure legislative compliance).
  • “On-call” HR advice and support,  utilising “Enable HR” cloud technology”.
  • Customised training.
  • Outplacement services.

Contact:;   phone 1300 366 738

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